Iraqi parliament vote 'stabbed the people of Kurdistan in the back': Masoud Barzani

Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani on Thursday called on Kurdish representatives in the national parliament in Baghdad, the regional parliament in Erbil, and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to take a unified stand against a fiscal deficit law passed by Iraqi lawmakers earlier that day in the absence of Kurdish lawmakers, remarking that the move "stabbed the people of Kurdistan in the back."
author_image Hiwa Shilani

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani on Thursday called on Kurdish representatives in the national parliament in Baghdad, the regional parliament in Erbil, and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to take a unified stand against a fiscal deficit law passed by Iraqi lawmakers earlier that day in the absence of Kurdish lawmakers, remarking that the move "stabbed the people of Kurdistan in the back."

On Thursday morning, Iraqi lawmakers passed the law with a majority of its members in the absence of representatives from the Kurdistan Region, who boycotted the session over disagreements about a clause that Kurdish lawmakers described as “unfair” for the autonomous region’s share of the federal budget.

Read More: Iraq’s parliament passes deficit law without Kurdish consent

The fiscal deficit law that the government has been waiting for is to secure employees' delayed salaries for several weeks, as the country is going through one of the most severe financial crises in years due to the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting steep decline in oil prices. Petroleum sales provide for the vast majority of the Middle Eastern nation's annual budget.

Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), stated, "Unfortunately, once again, the political parties, Shiites and Sunnis in the Iraqi Parliament, stabbed the people of Kurdistan in the back and used the budget of the Kurdish people as a card to pressure the Kurdistan Region."

Read More: KRG objects to spending bill Iraq passed in absence of Kurdish lawmakers

He added that, although budgetary agreements have previously been signed between the KRG and the federal government, they have not been implemented.

"We see the law issued by the Council of Representatives without taking into consideration the basis of partnership and agreements as political pressure against the region and a way to punish the people of Kurdistan. This is contrary to the basis of partnership, consensus, and balance between the Iraqi components and a type of trap, with aggressive indications," Barzani added.

The leader claimed that "it has become clear that the parliamentary parties had decided in advance to be hostile to the region," noting that many of them have often done so in the past regarding the constitution, agreements, rights, and demands of the Kurdish people.

Barzani also said that he appreciates the unity of the national representatives of the Kurdish people for their joint stance against that law and their position "is worthy of thanks and appreciation."

He concluded by calling for emergency meetings between national and regional lawmakers and other government officials involved to reach an agreement that would be acceptable to all and for Kurdish authorities to issue a clearly-worded decision that "at the same time preserve the dignity of the Kurdish people and put an end to such actions that aim to punish the people of Kurdistan."

Editing by John J. Catherine