KDP MPs ask to expedite gov. formation, exclude non-related topics in negotiations

The KDP says negotiations should focus on the new KRG cabinet and prefers to discuss non-government formation topics such as disputed territories and posts in Baghdad in separate meetings later.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The largest parliamentary faction in the Kurdistan Parliament on Wednesday called for an acceleration in the formation of the new Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) cabinet and that the negotiations between the leading parties should exclude matters of disputed territories and posts in Baghdad for now.

The Kurdistan Region held a parliamentary election on Sept. 30 and the new lawmakers were sworn in on Nov. 6. Since then, neither the leadership of the parliament has been elected nor the new government formed.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the winner of the election with 45 seats out of 111-seat parliament, nominated Masrour Barzani, the current Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC), to be the KRG’s new prime minister.

Negotiations for the government formation have already begun, albeit slowly, with KDP delegates already meeting twice in mid-December with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), which finished second with 21 seats, and Gorran (Change) Movement, third with 14 seats.

“We believe the negotiation process to form the new cabinet should be expedited so government institutions can continue to provide services to the people,” Hemin Hawrami, the head of the KDP faction in the Kurdistan Parliament, said during a press conference on Wednesday.

He called on all parties in Kurdistan to uphold their responsibilities and accelerate the negotiation process. Hawrami also said topics like disputed territories and Iraqi federal government posts should be avoided in the KRG cabinet formation talks.

“We hope the negotiations won’t be extended for a long time which could result in people losing confidence in the Kurdistan Region’s government institutions,” Hawrami stressed.

Over the past few weeks, lawmakers from the leading KDP have expressed their party’s wishes to form a coalition with the PUK and Gorran. However, the KDP lawmakers noted that parties are demanding more posts than their election results entitle.

The KDP will not veto parties from joining them in the formation of the new cabinet, but the party’s leadership has clarified that those who decide to join should uphold their responsibilities and remain committed to the joint coalition.

According to a source close to the negotiations, the PUK wants to address matters related to the disputed territories, namely Kirkuk, and the Kurdish shares in Baghdad during government formation talks with the KDP.

But the KDP disagrees and prefers to discuss non-government formation topics later in separate meetings, the source told Kurdistan 24 on Wednesday.

The government negotiations come as the PUK aims to secure the Minister of Justice post in the Iraqi government which continues to remain vacant until now. Choosing a new Kurdish Governor for Kirkuk and the current situation in the province, in general, is another topic the PUK seeks to gain KDP’s consent and support for.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany