ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Top delegations from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) met in Erbil on Tuesday to reach an agreement on the formation of the future regional government, but sources have told Kurdistan 24 that the PUK has made new demands for senior leadership posts.
This comes just over a week after the two leading parties in the Kurdistan Region announced they had successfully inked a deal that laid out a framework for future negotiations, bringing an end to the PUK's boycott of parliamentary sessions in an attempt to kick-start the process of government formation.
The first step toward a new cabinet was the election of the leadership of the legislature on Feb. 18, in which lawmakers voted in an interim speaker and her two deputies. The speaker position had been previously allotted to the PUK, but since the party was boycotting the session, the KDP agreed to elect a temporary speaker that was to step aside after the PUK agreed on which of two candidates that were reportedly vying for the post it would put forward.
The PUK's plans seem to have shifted, with the party instead now seeking other senior positions such as the Kurdistan Region's deputy prime minister, currently held by leading member Qubad Talabani, the vice-president, formerly held by the party’s Kosrat Rasul, and interior minister, a position now held by the KDP’s Karim Sinjari.
The KDP was the top vote-getter of regional elections held in September, securing 45 seats in the 111-seat regional parliament, beating out the PUK's 21, slightly less than half the number of seats.
The second–runner-up Change (Gorran) Movement, which got only 12 seats, entered an agreement with the KDP in late February.
The PUK and Gorran, however, are in more direct competition than either is with the KDP in cities like Sulaimani. On March 5, a Gorran official called for a trilateral meeting along with the PUK, to form a comprehensive deal on the distribution of senior posts.
Editing by John J. Catherine