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Kurdistan Region close to forming government—local media - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Prime Minister of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, Nechervan Barzani, speaks during a press conference in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil on September 18, 2013.  (AFP PHOTO/SAFIN HAMED)

The prime minister of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, Nechervan Barzani, speaks during a press conference in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil on September 18, 2013. (AFP PHOTO/SAFIN HAMED)

Erbil, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) has denied that there is any difference of opinion between Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani and Kurdish Prime Minister-elect Nechervan Barzani over the Interior Ministry portfolio. The Kurdish parties remain locked in intense negotiations over the formation of the next government following last year’s elections, with Kurdish officials saying that the formation of a government will be announced soon.

According to local reports, KDP deputy president Nechervan Barzani wants the Interior Ministry portfolio of his new government to remain in the hands of his own party, refusing to hand it over to the Goran Movement which came second in the September 2013 elections, beating out the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

KDP MP Jamal Murtkai denied reports of difference of opinion over the Interior Ministry portfolio, questioning their source.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat: “There is no basis in fact to these claims and they have no connection to reality,” adding that they were being put forward by people who oppose the KDP and the aspirations of the people of Kurdistan.

“The decision regarding the formation of the next government must enjoy the consensus of the victorious political parties and factions and who all confirmed their desire to take part in the next government,” he said.

PUK politburo member Ahmed Beera denied that any dispute between the KDP leadership over the Interior Ministry portfolio would be the reason for the delay in the announcement of a new government. He told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The Interior Ministry portfolio is not the only complex obstacle inhibiting the formation of a new government.”

He affirmed that there is no Kurdish political party or faction that bears sole responsibility for delaying the formation of the new government, confirming that the new political reality in the region following last year’s elections—with the Goran Movement displacing the PUK as Kurdistan’s second party—has complicated negotiations. He said that no political party is capable of unilaterally forming a government.

The PUK and KDP have previously allied to form the Erbil government, with the political parties now seeking to form a national unity government that includes all major Kurdish parties.

“Some parties want to take part in the formation of the future government according to the election results, while others want to participate according to historical entitlements,” Beera told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The KRG parliament is still in the process of meeting to choose a presidential council, which in turn will choose the parliamentary speaker. Murtkai acknowledged that there is pressure within Kurdistan for this to take place as soon as possible.

This is the second “open” meeting of the KRG parliament since the elections. The first parliamentary session was held in September 2013, but it was ultimately unable to select ministers amid political wrangling between members.