ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Region Government (KRG) Prime Minister (PM) Nechirvan Barzani on election day stressed that the next Iraqi government would be unsuccessful should Kurds be excluded and Baghdad fail to form a consensus government.
“We do not believe Iraq can achieve much needed political stability without resolving the disputes between Erbil and Baghdad,” said the Kurdish Prime Minister in a press conference after casting his vote early Saturday morning.
Three candidates are competing for the post of Iraqi Prime Minister: incumbent Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, his predecessor, Nouri al-Maliki, and former Iraqi Transportation Minister, Hadi al-Amiri, who has gained a lot of influence as a commander in the Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shabi militia, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).
Barzani argued that no winning electoral coalition could form a government without establishing alliances with other parties and coalitions.
“The new government in Iraq must be formed by consensus,” he said.
Barzani urged Kurdish voters to head to the polls, hoping rainfall would not prevent people in the Kurdistan Region from taking part in the electoral process.
“Kurdish parties must come together and select the main issues we wish to address once we are in Baghdad,” the Kurdish leader stressed, emphasizing that Kurdish parties who isolate themselves in the new government will add nothing to the Kurdish cause.
Barzani reiterated the fact that issues between the Erbil and Baghdad governments stem from political and economic differences that need to be addressed through the Constitution.
“Differences we have with Baghdad are not related to leadership posts within the government, but are issues specifically related to the Kurdish people, Article 140, and how revenue is divided.”
“We are participating in the election in the hopes of making progress in Baghdad on the basis of the constitution with the lessons we have learned from past experiences,” the Prime Minister continued, adding that Erbil is ready to forget its past disagreements with Baghdad for the future of Iraq.
Barzani concluded the press conference with renewed optimism, saying that “instead of fighting, it is best to reach an agreement with Baghdad through dialogue,” supported by the Iraqi constitution, claiming that was how the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) was able to secure the payment of public salaries.
“As per our deal, the federal government agreed to send the salaries of KRG employees.”
The winner of Iraq’s election will face the arduous task of rebuilding the war-ravaged country and battling rampant corruption borne by the mismanagement of Iraq’s oil revenue.
An estimated $100 billion is required to rebuild the country’s infrastructure, housing, and commercial interests devastated by three years of war against the Islamic State (IS).
Editing by Nadia Riva