ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Change (Gorran) Movement on Monday officially signed their agreement over the formation of government, hours ahead of a parliamentary session that is expected to vote in the body’s leadership.
Gorran has been the main opposition movement in the region since its establishment in 2009 when it won 25 percent of the available seats in the 111-seat parliament. The strong showing cemented the party as a strong player in the region, becoming a vocal critic of the coalition government led by the KDP and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
In the following 2013 election, Gorran secured 24 seats and overtook the PUK as the second largest party in the region. This time, however, the party joined the government, where Gorran maintained its criticisms of the administration in Erbil, leading to bitter tensions with the KDP, the leading party.
In the September 2018 elections, Gorran halved its gains from the previous election as public criticism of the party grew over not having achieved the goals it promised. Another factor that led to the weakening of Gorran’s popular support was the appearance of another independent party, New Generation, which won eight seats, just four short of Gorran.
Following the election, the KDP, in first place with 45 seats, entered into negotiations with both the PUK, the runner-up with 21 seats, and Gorran to form a new government. The stated goal is for a representative government that will address the needs of the people of the region, who have lived through a trying number of years with no financial security.
At the end of multiple rounds of negotiations that began late last year, the KDP and Gorran recently drafted an agreement that encompasses the political agenda of the two parties for the next four years. The negotiation committees of the two parties then passed the draft deal to their leadership, and late Sunday, Gorran finally approved it.
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On Monday, the two parties officially signed the strategic agreement, which is likely to end the disputes between the two parties as they form a new government.
The agreement, signed in Erbil, was composed of 30 points, 18 of which are related to party functions within the Kurdistan Region, while the others outlined policy in regards to Baghdad – Erbil ties. The agreement was inked during a special ceremony by Rozh Nouri Shaways of the KDP and Jalal Jawhar of Gorran.
The privileges granted to Gorran include but are not limited to a number of key posts in the government, as well as the Kurdistan Region’s Vice Presidency, an informed source told Kurdistan 24.
The agreement also stipulates that Gorran will hold three ministerial posts in the new government, including the Ministry of Finance, which the party has claimed it would use to implement a reform agenda and serve the people of the region.
On the other hand, the PUK is yet to officially announce their approval of its deal with the KDP over the new government as a protracted dispute over the governor of the province of Kirkuk, an area contested between the central Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), continues.
The PUK has said its leadership council would meet on Monday to finalize their stance on the issue. Their meeting is concurrent with the parliamentary session aiming to break the months-long political deadlock in Parliament and elect a speaker and deputies to the assembly.
The PUK has opted not to participate in the parliamentary session after repeated calls for the meeting to be delayed another 24 hours, which was rejected by the other parties.
Editing by Nadia Riva