Formation of new KRG cabinet, a complex task
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.