ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The President of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Masoud Barzani, and acting leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Kosrat Rasul, on Sunday met in the Kurdistan Region’s capital to discuss and resolve political disagreements between the two leading parties.
The PUK delegation was comprised of Arsalan Bayiz and Emad Ahmed, senior political figures in the party, and was headed by Rasul.
“In the meeting, we discussed the barriers the political process [for the formation of government] in the Kurdistan Region face,” Barzani’s press office stated.
“Both sides stressed there are serious efforts being made and an agreement to establish and strengthen the institutions of the Kurdistan Region by keeping in mind the interests of the people of the Kurdistan Region, brotherhood between factions, and the responsibility of all parties to meet the demands of the people,” read the statement.
In late September, the autonomous Kurdistan Region held its parliamentary election, with parties competing for 111 seats in total. The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) won the election by securing 45 seats, and was followed by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) with 21 seats, and Gorran (Change) with 12.
Recent disagreements between the KDP and the PUK impeding the formation of the new Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) cabinet date back to the military takeover of Kirkuk by Iraqi forces and Shia militias on Oct. 16, 2017, and also stem from friction following the election of the Iraqi President last October.
Differences were heightened last month when the PUK boycotted the Feb. 18 session of the Kurdistan Parliament as parties were scheduled to elect a speaker and two deputies.
After the KDP refused to negotiate an all-encompassing deal over regional issues - namely the formation of the new KRG cabinet - along with federal ones, the election of a new governor for Kirkuk and Iraqi ministerial posts in Baghdad, the PUK responded by recusing itself from the voting session in Parliament. The vote went ahead with all other parties in attendance, and an interim speaker was chosen until the PUK submit their candidates and a new vote is held.
Without the election of the new Parliament’s legislative body, lawmakers would not have been able to resume their work.
Editing by Nadia Riva