A mes­sage from the Pres­i­dent of the Kur­dis­tan

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE - Ma­soud Barzani Pres­i­dent of Kur­dis­tan Re­gion

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.

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