A message from the President of the Kurdistan
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate Dear people of Kurdistan… Political entities and civil society organizations…
It was the happiest decision in my life at the age of sixteen when I became a Peshmerga for the sake of liberty and, national and democratic rights of the people of Kurdistan.
Being a Peshmerga has been the greatest source of pride in my life. I have held different responsibilities throughout my life hence; I have struggled and served my people’s interest with the values and the soul of a Peshmerga .
I am also proud that I have asked the Kurdistan Front at the beginning of our people’s great uprising in the Spring of 1991 to hold free elections. The aim of that call was to enable the people of Kurdistan to determine their own fate.. All of this was a result of how I was bound to our objectives during my struggle as a Peshmerga in the times of the revolution while being in the mountains. It was also a national responsibility to implement the principles of democracy and to establish a democratic, political and administrative system.
Since then, the people of Kurdistan, together with all loyal sides here in the Region have started the democratic process. Today, with the help of God, the support of loyalists and the struggle and endurance of our people, we are witnessing significant improvements in different aspects of the livelihood of the people of Kurdistan. This is why today Kurdistan has a good reputation in terms of politics, security and coexistence.
The Kurdistan Region has experienced extensive deliberations about the nature and concept of the political system as well as the draft constitution. In order to introduce another example of adhering to the democratic process and law, I wrote a letter to the Independent High Electoral Commission asking them to conduct the Parliament and the Presidential elections this year in September. This was a clear fulfillment of my obligations. The date for the elections was set to be held on September 21, 2013. Nevertheless, before and even after this there were different opinions regarding the mechanism of presidential elections in Kurdistan. These differences implied the question of whether the President should be elected directly by the people due to the amended Kurdistan Region Presidency Law, No. 1 issued in 2005 and the draft constitution or that the president should be elected by the parliament, according to what several political parties think. This generated differences among political sides followed by the draft constitution question which unfortunately concluded into some sides acting aggressively within the political process, and eventually leading to a crisis.
Moreover, I wrote a second letter on May 25, 2013 calling upon all political parties in Kurdistan to submit their observations about the draft constitution. After receiving their responses, I asked the parliament to meet with all political sides and of the Kurdistan society to reach a conclusion. By this, I was aiming at having a better platform for working together and to demonstrate to our people and to the people outside of Kurdistan another example of the political process in Kurdistan. In addition, I was looking forward to facilitate a consensus among political sides and other components of the Kurdistan community in order to enable them to put forward their remarks and arguments.
The aim of sending remarks by different sides to the parliament was to have a consensus among all sides in and outside the parliament. By this, views of all sides would be a better roadmap and more suitable platform for the draft constitution and for the elections. Furthermore, I wanted to frankly inform the people of Kurdistan that I personally have no intention to nominate myself again and that I respect all laws and that I will hand over the trust of the presidency of the Kurdistan Region to anyone who will be elected afterwards.
Unfortunately, the opposition was not successful in supporting the process as much as they refused other sides to participate in the meetings held by the presidency of the parliament- after all the opposition failed the efforts and the process.
Here, I would like to frankly indicate that consensus does not mean reaching an agreement between merely the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the three opposition sides. Consensus needs all the mentioned sides plus all other sides and different components of Kurdistan. Earlier, the draft constitution was a product of deliberations by 36 political parties and ethnic groups, thus, today we should not marginalize them- Kurdistan does not include merely those five sides. Here again, I call upon all sides to take forward steps towards consensus regarding the question of the constitution and I offer them my full support. Let us prevent a political crisis in order not to disturb the peace that our people are enjoying. Let us utilize all our strengths and capacities for the sake of seizing the opportunities in the region which have become available to our people and nation.
I will put all my efforts in line for the sake of developing a new platform to reach consensus. The people of Kurdistan and political parties have witnessed that I spent tremendous efforts in order to reach consensus regarding the draft constitution at the early beginnings of approving it in 2009 and that it should gain the agreement of all sides in Kurdistan. I insisted that views of all ethnic and religious groups should be placed in this constitution and this was what happened. Afterwards, the parliament voted for the draft constitution. Again, I wanted to provide a platform for consensus beyond any disputes within the political process.
Unfortunately, the behavior of the opposition during the past four years has made a large segment of people to conclude that the opposition cannot be satisfied with anything and consensus in their perspective is to impose their views on others, an act that contradicts with political norms and democracy.
The three opposition sides ought to know that other than the KDP and PUK, there are other parties in Kurdistan that have experienced difficult times and that these parties have sacrificed for the sake of defending the existence of our people and the name of Kurdistan.
Furthermore, today we can find many other licensed political parties which have a say in how to develop Kurdistan.
The three opposition sides can neither allow themselves to block other sides from expressing their views in Kurdistan’s high level institutions, nor to humiliate these sides in a certain way throughout their discourses, this by all means is undemocratic. I thereby ask all colleagues in the opposition to act on the basis of accepting others.
Dear and ednuring people of Kurdistan,
On June 30, 2013, the Kurdistan Parliament-through the issuance of two laws, extended the office term for both the parliament and the presidency. This implied a delay in electing the President of Kurdistan Region. Here I would like to re-state the fact that I was never interested in assuming any post. Today, I do not intend to exchange my history of struggling for the freedom of Kurdistan with anything else. One is better known for his struggle and sacrifices for the sake of his people, nation and humanity than for ranks and positions or job titles.
I have signed the law for extending the term of the parliament in order to prevent any legal and constitutional gab that might happen in the Kurdistan Region. The Kurdistan Region Presidency term was extended by the Kurdistan Parliament. The Kurdistan bloc (KDP and PUK) along with other party blocs , ethnic groups and independents all voted for the law except for the opposition .
Now, I find myself obliged with the responsibility resulted from the alliance between the KDP and PUK in which together with a number of parties and ethnic groups in the Kurdistan Parliament have decided to extend the term for Presidency of Kurdistan Region for two more years- a decision without any direct involvement by me..
In addition, I find myself morally obliged with those responsibilities and duties as a result of the long term cooperation with my dear brother Mam Jalal and that is the continuation and strengthening of our alliance.
I sincerely hope for a speedy recovery for Mam Jalal and I hope that he will quickly return home where everything will be stable. I am well aware of the obligations from the alliance between the KDP and PUK. This alliance has truly led to tremendous stability and development in Kurdistan. At the same time, this alliance has made the Kurds be more active in the changes taken place in Iraq and the Region. As Mam Jalal is not present in Kurdistan with us today due to some health issues, I feel that I also have to fulfill his responsibility in terms of maintaining and enforcing our alliance as a symbol of loyalty for years of working together and struggling for the sake of our people and county.
Moreover, in order to consider the cautiousness of ethnic and religious components in Kurdistan from making the political crisis in Kurdistan harder and for the sake of preserving the stability in Kurdistan as well as considering the requests of characters of struggle in Iraqi Kurdistan and those from other parts of Kurdistan and after consultation with most political powers and sides in Kurdistan regarding the extension of the presidency term, I have decided not to reject this law. However, this does not imply that I agree with the legal form and content of extending the term of the presidency, thus I have not signed it either.
In order to respect the votes of the majority of Kurdistan Parliament and not to cause any discomfort to the majority in Parliament, I announce to my beloved people of Kurdistan that I will remain in office temporarily and perform my duties trustfully until the fourth parliamentary session in Kurdistan commences and reaches consensus. At this moment, I ask the presidency of the fourth parliamentary session to pursue and set in the light of my letter sent to the current presidency of Kurdistan Parliament on June 12, 2013 - the mechanisms for amending the draft constitution and presidential elections immediately after the elections on September 21, 2013. The new President of the Kurdistan Region will be elected and by then we will hand over our trust to anyone who gains the trust of the people of Kurdistan. I and the Vice President Kak Kosrat Rasul and the office of Kurdistan Presidency will provide all the support to the forthcoming parliament presidency for the above cause.
We, all together ought to show a great example of democracy. No one should remain in power forever and we should never allow for the notion of an eternal president. I strongly believe in the fact that whenever someone leaves office people should inquire why he or she is leaving, rather than making them ask why are they not leaving. Dear people of Kurdistan… I assure you that you and only you can decide your fate, no one can take away this right from you. Long live Kurdistan… Glory and immortality to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for freeing Kurdistan.