For­ma­tion of new KRG cab­i­net, a com­plex task

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Salih Wal­ad­bagi

Given the change in the bal­ance of power be­tween po­lit­i­cal par­ties, the for­ma­tion of the eighth cab­i­net of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Govern­ment (KRG) is ex­pected to be a com­plex task, com­pared with pre­vi­ous cab­i­nets.

The three ma­jor op­po­si­tion groups in Kur­dis­tan—the Change Move­ment (CM), which is led by Noshir­wan Mustafa who broke away from the PUK, Iraq Pres­i­dent Jalal Tal­a­bani’s party; the Kur­dis­tan Is­lamic Union (KIU); and the Kur­dis­tan Is­lamic Group (KIG)— have de­cided to unite in de­cid­ing whether to par­tic­i­pate in the next KRG cab­i­net.

The op­po­si­tion groups stress that they would never join a cab­i­net in which they would not have the power to im­ple­ment their agen­das. They also say they will def­i­nitely refuse any pre­con­di­tions re­lat­ing to ne­go­ti­a­tions to form the cab­i­net.

The Kur­dis­tan Demo­cratic Party (KDP), which is led by Re­gional Pres­i­dent Mas­soud Barzani, has won the 2013 par­lia­men­tary elec­tion and 38 par­lia­men­tary seats.

The party now finds it­self at a cross­roads and fac­ing a de­ci­sion—whether to form the next govern­ment with the pow­er­ful op­po­si­tion front or with its pre­vi­ous strate­gic ally, the Kur­dis­tan Pa­tri­otic Union (PUK).

The math­e­mat­i­cal divi­sion of the seats in the next par­lia­ment would be more dif­fi­cult than in pre­vi­ous elec­tions in which the two ma­jor rul­ing par­ties, the KDP and PUK, won the ab­so­lute ma­jor­ity of the votes. This time round, how­ever, they can­not dis­count a pow­er­ful op­po­si­tion that won around 40 of the 111 seats.

The KDP’s strate­gic ally, the PUK, is cur­rently strug­gling to come to terms with elec­tion fail­ure. Its seats have gone down from 29 to 18, and many PUK sup­port­ers have crit­i­cized the lead­er­ship coun­cil and de­manded their res­ig­na­tion.

Sev­eral veteran PUK of­fi­cials have in­ti­mated they would re­sign at the party’s in­ter­nal con­ven­tion, which is sched­uled for Jan­uary 31, 2014. They have strongly crit­i­cized the party lead­er­ship and de­scribed the re­sults of the elec­tions as a “big de­feat” for the PUK.

A po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst, who wishes to re­main anony­mous due to the sen­si­tiv­ity of these is­sues, told the Kur­dish Globe that the PUK is no longer the sec­ond party in the Re­gion, and that this is a re­sult of the PUK’s lead­er­ship prov­ing them­selves in­ca­pable of manag­ing the party in the ab­sence of Pres­i­dent Tal­a­bani.

Af­ter a long bloody war in 1994, the two rul­ing par­ties signed an agree­ment that came to be called a “strate­gic agree­ment”. The KDP can now re­voke or amend that agree­ment fol­low­ing the PUK’s poor show­ing in the par­lia­men­tary elec­tions.

Niemat Ab­dul­lah, Head of the Kur­dis­tan Par­lia­men­tar­ian Union, told the Kur­dish me­dia that the best so­lu­tion given the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion is to form a broad­based govern­ment, how­ever hard this may prove.

”If the KDP and PUK as well as sev­eral other small par­ties en­deavor to form a new cab­i­net, then we will be faced with a rep­e­ti­tion of the pre­vi­ous un­suc­cess­ful cab­i­nets,” he said, adding that he hoped that ex­pe­ri­ence would never be re­peated.

Ac­cord­ing to the rules, the re­gional Pres­i­dent will ap­point the Prime Min­is­ter, who will have one month to form a cab­i­net alone.

The KDP won 38 seats in the leg­isla­tive elec­tions, and its only can­di­date for the of­fice of Prime Min­is­ter is Nechir­van Barzani, Pres­i­dent Barzani’s nephew.

Ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial statis­tics pro­vided by the In­de­pen­dent High Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (IHEC), the Change Move­ment won 24 seats, the PUK 18, the KIU 10, the KIG 6, and the Kur­dis­tan Is­lamic Move­ment (KIM) 1.

A gen­eral view of Coun­cil of Min­is­ters HQ which is sit­u­ated in Er­bil, cap­i­tal of the au­tonomous Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.

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