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Iraq: Kurds seek unity ahead of election results - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Kurdish Regional Government President Masoud Barzani speaks during an interview with Reuters in Arbil, in Iraq's Kurdistan region, May 12, 2014. (REUTERS/Azad Lashkari)

Kurdish Regional Government President Masoud Barzani speaks during an interview with Reuters in Arbil, in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, May 12, 2014. (REUTERS/Azad Lashkari)

Erbil, Asharq Al-Awsat—The president of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Massoud Barzani, met with representatives of several Kurdish parties on Saturday in a bid to unify Kurdish ranks two days before Iraq’s general election results are set to be announced.

The meeting agreed to form a joint delegation to negotiate the terms of Kurdish participation in the country’s next government, said Kurdistan Alliance spokesman Muayad Al-Tayeb, speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat.

According to Tayeb, Barzani “chaired a meeting with Kurdish parties on Saturday, including the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the Movement for Change [Gorran] and the Islamic Group in Kurdistan, among others.”

According to a statement issued by Barzani’s office, participants stressed the need to “unify the political discourse of the Kurds regarding the elections and deal with all pending issues with Baghdad.”

The attendees also called on Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) to announce the election results as soon as possible.

“The meeting has undermined all attempts at causing a rift within Kurdish ranks regarding the formation of the forthcoming government and the concept of partnership,” Tayeb said.

“Kurds have their own conditions on forming a strong partnership government, rather than a political majority one, as some wish,” he added.

The meeting followed reports last week that PUK, led by ailing Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, may agree to join a government with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki.

A Kurdish agreement of this kind may represent a blow to Maliki, whose ruling State of Law coalition has sought to attract Kurdish parties into joining it in forming a new government in Baghdad.

Although polls suggest Maliki’s coalition performed well in the general election at the end of last month, he is seen as unlikely to secure an outright victory, forcing him to build alliances with other parties in order to secure a parliamentary majority.