KDP, PUK leadership meet as relations thaw
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Members of the political offices of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) met in Sulaimani on Tuesday, following months of tensions on a number of issues.
The members of the KDP leadership team visited their counterparts at the PUK politburo headquarters in Sulaimani to discuss holding the sixth parliamentary elections scheduled for Nov. 18 this year, according to a joint statement.
The meeting comes after KDP President Masoud Barzani called for a national dialogue among the political parties last week, particularly between the two leading parties before May 18.
The two sides hailed Barzani's initiative, describing it as "timely" and agreed to work towards achieving that goal.
They agreed to work “as one team” and hold other meetings in the future.
The members also agreed to "speed up the political and legal steps" to hold the elections on time this year, the bilateral statement added.
As the main partners of the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) ninth cabinet, the relations between the two parties in recent months witnessed heightened tensions over the administrative and financial management of Sulaimani, PUK’s stronghold.
The tensions led to a series of wars of words between the two sides, leading the PUK team to pull out of the KRG cabinet sessions for six months.
Following a meeting between Prime Minister Masrour Barzani and his Deputy Qubad Jalal Talabani from the PUK, tensions began to wane, leading to the return of the party to the Cabinet sessions on Sunday.
This week, the cabinet adopted the Restructuring Public Finances bill, in which all the PUK concerns were addressed, including the collection of revenues in a centralized manner and redistribution of them proportionate to each of the four provinces’ populations.
The two parties on Monday welcomed the draft law and expressed their support for its implementation.
The normalization of ties between the two sides has been widely welcomed by the Region’s allies, including the US, UK, and the Netherlands.