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Disputes in Kirkuk postpone vote to decide new governor

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Disputes in Kirkuk postpone vote to decide new governor

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:17 pm

KDP-PUK strike power-sharing deal after Barzani warns time running out

The political deadlock preventing the establishment of a new government in Erbil is over as the Region’s two biggest parties finally struck a deal

The final agreement between the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK traitors) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) will be signed in the coming days, PUK spokesman Latif Sheikh Omer told reporters on Wednesday, declining to give details of the deal.

The effect of their agreement was immediate as PUK lawmakers attended the parliamentary session Wednesday afternoon. Since being sworn in on November 6, 2018, PUK members have not attended parliament while their leadership negotiated their role in government.

The PUK joined the session that is dedicated to an amendment of the presidency law “as the first practical step for the formation of the government,” Omer explained.

The announcement that a deal was reached came just hours after KDP leader Masoud Barzani warned his party will not wait any longer for an agreement and would soon press ahead with forming a government alone.

“Now we have reached a stage where we can’t wait and there is no justification for doing so. The time for waiting has ended,” Barzani told a ceremony inaugurating a book fair in Erbil on Wednesday.

“We hope the government is formed by all the winning parties. But frankly, from today onwards, we will not wait any longer. We will form the government soon,” he added.

Efforts to form the new cabinet dragged on for months as rival parties squabbled over their share of power in the new government.

PUK’s Omer said the agreement was reached after “intensified meetings” and a conversation between Barzani and acting PUK leader Kosrat Rasul.

“This afternoon, following a friendly phone call between Masoud Barzani and Kosrat Rasul, both sides reached a joint understanding for the PUK’s position in the Kurdistan Region’s governance system,” he said.

The KDP emerged as the biggest party in the September 30 parliamentary election securing 45 seats – just shy of an outright majority in the 111-seat chamber.

The PUK secured 21 seats and the Change Movement (Gorran) 12.

The three parties may now have achieved consensus on who will hold the top jobs and ministries of government.

Speaking in Erbil, Barzani also commented on the recent ferry disaster in Mosul, in which more than a hundred people died when their boat capsized in the Tigris River on March 21.

“This disaster was the result of bad situations in Mosul along with its system and bad security conditions, especially after its liberation,” he said, describing the incident as “a national and humanitarian disaster which shook our hearts.”

Barzani said Mosul was “left with an unknown fate after its liberation,” adding “the focus was unfortunately on how the money allocated for the reconstruction of Mosul should be distributed and how the parties should distribute the money rather than spend it on services and the reconstruction of Mosul.”

Mosul was under the rule of the Islamic State group (ISIS) for three years. The battle to retake the city left much of it in ruins.

Despite its territorial defeat, Barzani warned ISIS still poses a threat to the region.

Ayad Allawi, a prominent Iraqi politician who was prime minister of the post-2003 transitional government, also attended the ceremony.

Echoing Barzani’s warning, Allawi said: “Iraq has seen military victory [over ISIS], but we haven’t fully achieved peace yet. There is still no peace between the main parties of Iraq.”

Allawi said Iraq has one chance remaining to overcome its challenges.

“It surely is the final chance for Iraq to succeed and for Iraqis to achieve their rights without discrimination and marginalization,” he said.

“This government should stabilize Iraq.”

Erbil-Baghdad relations

Barzani struck an optimistic tone about Erbil-Baghdad relations, which collapsed over independent oil sales and the Kurdistan Region’s referendum to break away from federal Iraq in 2017. He credited Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi with salvaging the relationship.

“Having Adil Abdul-Mahdi as prime minister provides a new opportunity and this might be the final opportunity. That is why this opportunity shouldn’t be wasted,” Barzani said.

“We will seriously coordinate and cooperate with his Excellency Adil in order to resolve all the problems, not only problems between the Kurdistan Region and Baghdad, rather all the problems concerning every citizen,” he said.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/03042019
Last edited by Anthea on Thu May 02, 2019 9:39 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Disputes in Kirkuk postpone vote to decide new governor

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Re: KDP-PUK strike power-sharing deal

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:17 am

Back to square one? KDP struggles
to reconcile PUK, Gorran demands


Almost 200 days have passed since the Kurdistan Region held its parliamentary election. Despite several so-called “breakthrough” deals between the three biggest parties, the Region appears no closer to forming a new government

Months of fruitless meetings between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and the Change Movement (Gorran) have blighted the process as the rivals bicker over lucrative positions in government.

Disagreements over the presidency were once a serious obstacle, with rivals disputing whether the post should have executive or purely ceremonial power.

Relations between Gorran and the KDP soured in 2015 when Gorran tried to rein in the powers of then-president Masoud Barzani.

Gorran wanted the prime minister to wield executive power instead and for the president to be elected by lawmakers rather than the public.

Relations between the two parties have since warmed and the post of deputy president was promised to Gorran.

However, a new deal promising a second deputy president to the PUK – Gorran’s main rival in Sulaimani province – has placed the KDP-Gorran détente in jeopardy.

If the deal between the KDP and Gorran cannot be reconciled with the deal between the KDP and PUK, a new government will remain elusive.

Kurdistan parliament has not convened since October 2015 because of political disagreements between the KDP and Gorran, the first two largest parties in the Kurdistan Region. File photo: Rudaw/Farzin Hassan. The Kurdistan Region parliament in Erbil. File photo: Farzin Hassan / Rudaw

Farid Asasard, a member of PUK leadership, told Rudaw if Gorran insists upon taking the deputy presidency, “both agreements have to be altered and the distribution of posts has to be re-discussed, which is not easy and time is against it.”

Kwestan Mohammed, a member of Gorran’s General Assembly, told Rudaw the party is ready to give the PUK the post of second deputy president, “but in return we shall be given Peshmerga Ministry or Interior Ministry [because] the second deputy will not leave any role for a deputy from Gorran.”

However, Jaafar Sheikh Mustafa, commander of PUK forces in the Ministry of Peshmerga, has said he will not follow orders from Gorran officials if they are given security posts.

The parties have therefore reached an impasse. Voters are outraged at the continued delay.

“I see the KDP as a man with two spouses. He does whatever he can to please both wives, just to avoid people’s talk and embarrassment,” one Facebook user commented on Rudaw’s recent coverage.

The KDP, which dominates the new parliament, does not want to harm its newly mended relations with Gorran. At the same time, it wants to please the PUK, which had boycotted the parliament, disrupting government business.

As the dominant military force in Sulaimani and Halabja provinces, the PUK’s demands cannot be ignored. Any government excluding the PUK would wield little authority in the Region’s east.

The PUK’s Asasard blamed the KDP for the dispute.

“The issue is that the KDP entered talks in a bad way, and it hastily made a deal with Gorran as a reaction against the PUK. Now, the KDP itself has to resolve the issue even if it costs them a post because the PUK has made its deal and is waiting for these two parties,” he said.

Aso Ali, another member of PUK leadership, said: “The delay of government formation has nothing to do with the PUK. We are awaiting the KDP and Gorran [to make a final agreement] so that we can sign our agreement with the KDP.”

Two weeks ago, KDP leader Masoud Barzani warned further delays to government formation would not be tolerated.

“Now we have reached a stage where we can’t wait and there is no justification for doing so. The time for waiting has ended,” Barzani told a ceremony inaugurating a book fair in Erbil on April 3.

This strong message from Barzani was immediately followed by an initial deal between his party and PUK but it did not produce concrete results.

KDP leader Masoud Barzani addresses the inauguration of a book fair in Erbil, April 3, 2019. Photo: Rudaw TVKDP leader Masoud Barzani addresses the inauguration of a book fair in Erbil, April 3, 2019. File photo: Rudaw TV

Reaching a compromise, the KDP submitted a bill with Gorran in late March to amend the controversial presidency law. According to the bill, the president will no longer be elected through a public vote but by lawmakers.

The bill has been through two readings, according to Hevidar Ahmed, a KDP lawmaker in the Kurdistan Region parliament, but the parties would rather not proceed without the PUK.

“KDP supporters, voters, and cadres keep asking furiously why the KDP is compromising,” Ahmed said in an op-ed for Rudaw.

The best option for the KDP is to “meet most of the demands of the PUK and Gorran – which is more than their size [entitles them to] – to make them participate in the government,” Ahmed added.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/150420191
color=#0000FF]It is shameful that the KDP have to cow down to the traitorous PUK and the backstabbing Gorran[/color]
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Re: KDP struggles to reconcile PUK, Gorran demands

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Apr 19, 2019 12:21 am

Gorran and PUK ready to sign on
dotted line or are gaps still too big?


Rivalry between old foes the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Gorran has dragged out negotiations on the formation of the next Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). But, more than half a year after elections, there is a glimmer of hope that both sides are softening their hardline stances in acknowledgement of the need to break the impasse and get on with the job they were tasked with by the electorate.

"We have no other option besides reaching agreement," Qubad Talabani said on Thursday at the opening ceremony of the 22nd annual Galawej Festival.

Talabani, deputy prime minister in the outgoing government, topped PUK’s list in the election and received the most votes of any candidate in the September 30 election. He is the son of PUK founder and beloved Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani and was speaking at the festival organized by veteran PUK official Mala Bakhtiar.

"The festival takes place in spring, a season of bad and happy times for the Kurdish nation. This should encourage us to rise above disagreements and work for national and service questions," he told the crowd of mainly intellectuals, adding the government should be formed soon.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) won the election, but failed to secure an outright majority. It has signed agreements with second place PUK and third place Gorran for a coalition government, but still cannot bring its two allies to the table together.

The main stumbling block is over control of the security sectors, which are effectively controlled by KDP and PUK – not the government – as both parties have their own forces. The PUK recently said it wants to see the creation of a second vice presidency position that would oversee military affairs. The president is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

Jaafar Sheikh Mustafa, head of PUK’s Peshmerga, has vowed that his forces won’t take orders from a Gorran vice president.

KDP spokesperson Mahmoud Mohammed told Rudaw that in a recent party meeting, they agreed to the idea of two vice presidents. "In the meeting, we have had no issue with adding it or not," he said, but added the issue should be broached through negotiation and not ultimatums.

Nechirvan Barzani, KDP’s nominee for president, and his cousin Masrour Barzani, KDP’s nominee for prime minister, were both present at the meeting.

What the KDP does take issue with, however, is dragging out the process. "Both sides should be considerate of the situation, that further delay is not in the interest of the Kurdistan Region," Mohammed said.

According to information Rudaw has obtained, Nechirvan Barzani has met with the leadership of both PUK and Gorran, asking them to stop hampering political negotiations.

While Talabani sounded conciliatory in his speech on Thursday, PUK has not publicly stated whether or not they are ready to ease up on their demands. They have previously rejected the offer of a second deputy for the prime minister.

Gorran, which initially rejected outright the PUK’s proposition for a second deputy president, seems to be mellowing, albeit with conditions.

"If they insist on this position, then maybe we will, for the sake of the interests of the people, agree to a second vice," Hemin Sheikhani, member of Gorran's National Council, told Rudaw this week.

Gorran, which has no armed forces, has traditionally advocated for abolishing party control of the Peshmerga and Asayesh (security forces). No "single party" should be holding two senior security positions, said Sheikhani, referring to PUK’s desire to hold the Peshmerga ministry in addition to the new vice presidency.

The second vice president should have administrative roles instead, he said.

The KDP is losing patience with its would-be coalition partners. Head of the party, and former president of the Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani said earlier this month that there is “no justification” for further delays.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/180420193
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Re: KDP struggles to reconcile PUK, Gorran demands

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:22 am

Gorran, KDP may sign final deal Tuesday

Gorran has agreed to the creation of a second deputy president position, a party member said, possibly finally breaking the political impasse that has stalled formation of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)’s new cabinet.

“In the beginning, we rejected the Kurdistan Region president having two deputies. But now, since we don’t want the process to be delayed even longer, we have reached the last stage of finalizing the agreement and it is highly expected for the agreement to be officially signed between Gorran and KDP on Tuesday,” said Jalal Mohammed, a Gorran member of the parliament’s legal committee.

Parliamentary elections were held on September 30, 2018, with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) coming out on top, winning 45 seats in the 111-seat legislature, but not securing an outright majority. It has spent nearly seven months trying to build a governing coalition with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), which won 21 seats, and Gorran, which has 12 seats.

Gorran proposed a reform package that included amending the presidential law so that the president is elected by the parliament, not a public vote. KDP agreed to the proposal. In talks about distributing positions and roles in the government, the PUK requested the creation of a second deputy for the president. After first resisting, Gorran has now agreed.

“We as Gorran are a responsible party and we understand the dangers of this phase. Hence we don’t want government formation to be delayed anymore so people are no longer affected by the delay,” explained Ashna Abdulla, an MP with Gorran in Kurdistan Region’s parliament, of her party’s stance.

Jalal Mohammed predicted that KDP and PUK will ink an agreement soon after Gorran signs, “and there’s a strong possibility that Wednesday will be announced as the next parliament session.”

The bill amending the presidency law was introduced in parliament in late March and MPs have subsequently met to discuss it twice, most recently on April 3.

The government-formation process has dragged on for months. The KDP first reached a deal with Gorran in February, and then arrived at a similar pact with the PUK in March. But disagreements over distributing cabinet positions lingered. Gorran and PUK also disagreed over the president’s deputies.

PUK, which shares control of the security forces with the KDP, wanted creation of a second deputy president who would be responsible for military affairs. Gorran, which does not have an armed force, objected, arguing that the new post would be a financial drain and, if created, should be solely an administrative position.

The details of the final agreements the parties may sign this week are not immediately known.

The PUK leadership has approved the agreement reached with the KDP and is waiting on the KDP to sign it, Rewaz Fayeq, PUK member and head of parliament’s finance committee, told Rudaw English on Monday.

The nearly seven month delay in forming the government “is normal,” said Nechirvan Barzani on Monday. He is currently prime minister of the Kurdistan Region and is tipped to be the next president.

“The interests of the Kurdistan Region require that enough time is dedicated for the process of dialogue on forming the next government cabinet because we want our country to have political and social stability along with harmony, reconciliation, economic growth and prosperity,” he said when making comments on Kurdish Journalism Day.

“The parties should be given the time they need to resolve the problems,” he stressed.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/23042019
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Re: KRG formation: Gorran, KDP may sign final deal soon

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu May 02, 2019 9:38 am

Disputes in Kirkuk postpone
vote to decide new governor


An ongoing rift between leading factions in the local legislature of the disputed Iraqi province of Kirkuk caused a key session to be delayed indefinitely, yet again, when the body failed to achieve quorum on Tuesday

“We wanted to hold a session on several issues regarding Kirkuk Province but this failed because many council members were not present,” said Kirkuk Provincial Council (KPC) member Tahsin Kahiya during a press conference later that day.

The council was expected to discuss and, possibly, elect a new governor. The position is currently occupied by a Baghdad-appointed bureaucrat that has held the office since late 2017 following the ouster of Kurdish governor Nejmaldin Karim.

The oil-rich and ethnically diverse province has been at the heart of major disagreements between Iraq's two leading Kurdish parties over the past few years, especially after Iraqi forces and Shia militias attacked and took over Kirkuk and other disputed territories on Oct. 16, 2017, in response to the Kurdistan Region's historic independence referendum.

A coalition between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), which now holds 26 seats in the 41-seat provincial legislature, appointed Karim as Kirkuk's governor in 2011. After the events of October 2017, however, he was forced to leave the city and his post.

Along with Karim, many members of the KPC, including its head, fled for the Kurdistan Region. Many refuse to return to the province until the situation there is returned to pre-2017 conditions which would include an end to what many of them call the current military rule by Iraqi forces and militias.

A political source familiar with council deliberations has previously told Kurdistan 24 that the main sticking points between the two Kurdish parties were the candidates to be considered for the governor position and venue of the meeting.

Kirkuk is claimed by both the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal government of Iraq. The population is made up of Turkmen, Arabs, Christians, and a Kurdish majority.

The future of the province was constitutionally mandated to be determined through a referendum as outlined in Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution, which stipulated that the vote was to be held before the end of December 2007. More than a decade after the deadline, the article remains wholly unimplemented.

Increasingly, Kurdish residents and parties in Kirkuk are calling for unity in the upcoming provincial elections as a means to secure top local posts. The last local election in the province took place in 2005. This has been primarily caused by the inability of local officials from different ethnicities to agree on a mechanism for holding the local poll.

http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/28c9 ... 278dcd659d
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