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Kurdistan: MPs express dismay as political deadlock continues - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Female Kurdish deputies are pictured outside the Kurdistan parliament building in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq on November 6, 2013, following the first parliamentary meeting of the recently elected deputies. (AFP Photo/Safin Hamed)

Female Kurdish deputies are pictured outside the Kurdistan parliament building in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq on November 6, 2013, following the first parliamentary meeting of the recently elected deputies. (AFP Photo/Safin Hamed)

Erbil, Asharq Al-Awsat—Iraqi Kurdistan’s main parties are facing increasing pressure over the current political stalemate, with several MPs planning to hold a sit-in on Tuesday to protest against delays in the formation of the new Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Asharq Al-Awsat has learned.

A number of Kurdish MPs have warned Kurdistan’s main parties—the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the Goran Movement for Change, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)—of the consequences if the political stalemate continues.

Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat, Abu Bakr Hldni, a Kurdistan Islamic Union MP, said: “Many meetings and gatherings of parliamentary blocs have taken place to speed up the formation of the government but have not yielded any positive results so far.”

Hldni said his party will take part in the new government, on the condition that “[it] has a wide base of public support and that ministers are appointed with full powers regardless of their partisan or ideological background.”

Hldni warned of the consequences of allowing a stalemate to continue. “People have lost hope of a government being formed, [despite] having effectively participated in the recent elections,” he said.

“The delay . . . has seriously affected the state of the market, economy and service and investment projects, and has led to a shortage in the flow of cash in the banks of the region,” he added.

This follows weeks of negotiations led by Prime Minister-designate Nechervan Barzani with Kurdistan’s main political parties, with disagreements ensuing among over the assignment of government posts.

The new government was due to include three deputy prime ministers: one each for Kurdistan’s main political parties, the KDP, the Goran Movement for Change, and the PUK.

The KDP, which came first in last year’s parliamentary election, has subsequently agreed to bequeath one of its ministerial portfolios to the PUK, who have been supplemented as Kurdistan’s second party by Goran.

However, the Goran had previously rejected the idea of additional deputy prime minister posts being created to appease Kurdistan’s political forces.

In exclusive comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, Firsat Soufi, an MP for the KDP, said: “The parliament will witness a sit-in by a number of MPs in protest against delaying the announcement of the new government line-up.”

Soufi claimed that the failure to form a government has “negatively damaged the government’s prestige,” warning that the current stalemate may cause an “executive vacuum.”

Salar Mahmud, an MP for the PUK, said: “The coming few days will show the true influence of . . . [MP pressure] on the influential parties to form the government,” and said that members of his party will take part in the sit-in.