Kurdistan leading party’s delegation meets runner-ups in Sulaimani

A delegation from the leading party in the Kurdistan Region on Sunday arrived in Sulaimani to meet with the city’s largest parties and discuss the formation of the future government.
author_image Kosar Nawzad

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A delegation from the leading party in the Kurdistan Region on Sunday arrived in Sulaimani to meet with the city’s largest parties and discuss the formation of the future government.

The Kurdistan Region held its parliamentary election on Sept. 30, with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) securing 45 seats in the 111-seat legislature. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Change Movement (Gorran) came in second and third place with 21 and 12 seats respectively.

The KDP has already nominated Masrour Barzani, the current Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC), as their candidate for prime minister, who would form the new regional government’s cabinet. Nechirvan Barzani, the current prime minister, has also been nominated as the KDP’s candidate for the newly reinstated post of President of the Kurdistan Region. 

Seven months since the vote, disputes continue to stall government formation. Previously, the KDP signed separate agreements with the PUK and Gorran that were described as final deals, but disagreement grew after the PUK demanded additional posts in the cabinet, a move which also strained relations with Gorran.

Read more: KDP, Gorran ink deal on gov. formation as PUK boycotts return to Parliament

One key issue between the parties is in regards to the deputyship of the region’s as yet suspended presidency. Working out the details of this matter would affect the contents of the legislative bill that parliament seeks to pass in order to reinstitute the president’s office.

The president has previously only had one deputy and the KDP agreed to grant it to Gorran. The PUK then demanded another deputy be added for their candidate, to which the KDP appears to have agreed and Gorran at first refused but then gave a lukewarm assent.

However, the PUK and Gorran— rivals who refuse to meet and iron out disputes themselves—still refuse to reach a conclusive deal as they continue to argue over the responsibilities of the deputies. The KDP recently decided to visit both parties in efforts to accelerate the formation of government.

The KDP delegation, spearheaded by the deputy head of the party, Nechirvan Barzani, first met with Gorran as they arrived in Sulaimani on Sunday. An informed source earlier told Kurdistan 24 that Gorran is expected to suggest to the KDP that their presidential deputy must be in charge of military affairs, among them the purchase of arms, reform, and coordination with the operations command of the central Iraqi government.

Another source earlier also said that during their meeting with the KDP, due to take place following the one with Gorran, the PUK is expected to ink a “final deal” on the formation of the next government, although it is yet unclear how the outcome of the first meeting would affect the outcome of the second one.

KDP Spokesperson Mahmoud Mohammed (L) and Gorran Movement Spokesperson Shorsh Haji (R), speak to the press in Sulaimani, shortly after a meeting between the two parties' top members, May. 05, 2019. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)
KDP Spokesperson Mahmoud Mohammed (L) and Gorran Movement Spokesperson Shorsh Haji (R), speak to the press in Sulaimani, shortly after a meeting between the two parties' top members, May. 05, 2019. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)


Further delays

Following the KDP–Gorran meeting, the two parties’ spokespersons held a joint press conference and reaffirmed their commitment to the agreement they had signed previously.

Gorran spokesperson Shorsh Haji said that his party’s “chief” ambition is “reform in all branches of power, administration, and governance,” including “the nationalization of the Peshmerga and [Asayish] forces and depoliticizing the justice system.”

The distribution of posts “must not be a barrier to the formation of the Kurdistan Regional Government [KRG].”

Regarding a possible conclusion to the process, KDP Spokesperson Mahmoud Mohammed said Sunday’s meetings are meant to renew another round of talks to that end, although he stated further delays were possible should the PUK put forward fresh demands in the meeting that is to come.

Editing by Nadia Riva