Ebil, Asharq Al-Awsat—Ali Bapir, the leader of the Kurdistan Islamic Group, has accused the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) of delaying the formation of a government in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, three months after the end of the elections.
In an interview with the Rudaw TV channel, which is sympathetic to Prime Minister-designate Nechervan Barzani, Bapir said there were “some difficult issues facing the negotiations to form a government, and the main issue is the impossible conditions imposed by the PUK leadership.”
He added that “had it not been for these conditions, the government would have been formed a long time ago” and that all political parties involved should not delay the formation of the government because of “impossible conditions which are not implementable.”
The PUK placed third in the recent elections behind the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Gorran (Movement for Change).
Meanwhile, a member of the Kurdistan Islamic Group, Abdul Sattar Majid, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the PUK was trying to find a formula to share power with the KDP as they did previously, according to the strategic agreement the two parties had since the liberation of the Kurdistan region in 1991.
Majid said that the Kurdistan Islamic Group, which placed fifth in the election, had decided to “participate in the next government” and that discussions had so far been “positive.” He added that the Group demanded the implementation of a points system for assigning government posts between the different parties. This “would give the Group two ministerial posts because of the six seats it won in the recent parliamentary elections.”
Ferhad Mulla Saleh, a leading figure in the Islamic Union, which placed fourth in the elections, stressed the importance of expediting the formation of the government because “it is linked to the stability of the political situation in Kurdistan, in addition to the negative effect any further delay will have on the reputation” of the country.
Mulla Saleh told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the reasons for the delay are known, and they revolve around the conditions of the winning parties, some of which are exaggerated.”
“While we recognize every winning party’s rights,” he said, “they all must show flexibility to resolve the difficulties facing this government. Any further delay does not help the political situation or the stability of the region.”
The delay in forming a government has also caused a subsequent delay in forming the presidential council of the parliament. Senior Gorran official Yusuf Mohamed said 88 MPs had presented a document to the presidency demanding an urgent meeting is held to discuss the delay.
Mohamed said the sovereign posts, including the premiership, and the finance, Peshmerga (military), interior, and oil ministries, all required intense negotiations in order to distribute them fairly across parties according to the results of the elections. “Without prior agreement, no government can be announced and a parliamentary presidency council cannot be elected,” he said.
“The delay has caused a legislative vacuum in the region,” Mohamed said. However, he added that while parliamentary norms prescribed shortening any such vacuums, he believed “the current political situation and the change in the political scene make it imperative that we consider the situation and wait until the negotiations are over.”