Kurds rush to form KRG cabinet before elections
PM Barzani: The KDP wishes to form the KRG cabinet soon. We cannot announce the exact date. President Massoud Barzani insists on forming the government too. By Salih Waladbagi The efforts to form a new Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have been intensified. The Kurdistan Democratic Party's (KDP) negotiating committee, led by the Premier Nechirvan Barzani, started a new round of talks with the winning parties in order to reach an agreement regarding the formation of the eighth cabinet.
The KDP committee met with the Change Movement, known as Gorran locally, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan's (PUK) committee on 7 April, 2014. Afterwards, the Prime Minister Barzani confirmed that the meetings were positive and the viewpoints were close to each other.
Barzani reiterated that the main focus of the meetings was the formation of the new KRG cabinet. He said: "The formation of the cabinet has been delayed for so long, it should have been done with by now. We believe that the government has to be formed at the end of the day in which all the political parties have their own share."
He also stated that he prefers this solution and it is much better than any other options."
Following his meetings with Gorran and PUK committees, PM Barzani announced that they could not reach the final accord to form the cabinet.
"We will meet with both the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) and the Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG) and then we will be able to choose the best alternative," said PM Barzani.
The most significant thing, Barzani said, is that the KDP leadership believes that the cabinet has to be formed as soon as possible.
Gorran chose to be in opposition in the previous cabinet. Surprisingly, it finished second, winning 24 seats in the last September Kurdistan parliamentary elections. Its main slogan was "change" during the elections campaign. Gorran promised its electorate to strive hard to introduce political reforms to the political administrative system that has been dominated by both the KDP and the PUK since the formation of the first KRG cabinet back in 1992.
The KDP's strategic ally, the PUK, finished third place by winning 18 parliamentary seats. The party finds it difficult to accept defeat. And it is not possible for the other parties, especially the KDP, to acquiesce to the demands of the PUK and grant it ministerial posts which it does not deserve according to the results of the election.
The KDP offered a new proposal and asked Gorran to take the Ministry of Peshmarga in the next cabinet. Barzani reaffirmed that the KDP and Gorran committees talked about it in the meetings.
"We have not imposed any restrictions on any party concerning the talks about the formation of the new cabinet, " said the PM Barzani, who is the KDPs' only candidate to take the next prime minister post.
Barzani said that the main task of the next KRG ministry of Peshmarga is to unite the 70th and 80th Peshmarga divisions, which presently are controlled by the KDP respectively the PUK.
According to the KDP's new proposal to distribute ministerial positions, the KDP keeps Ministry of Interior for itself, Gorran takes Ministry of Peshmarga and the proposal offers the Directorate of Security Council as well as Kurdistan President's Assistant of Peshmarga Affairs to the PUK.
Barzani told the Kurdish media that the KDP com- mittee met with the PUK which was led by second deputy to PUK's General Secretary Dr. Barham Salih. "We laid emphasis on the vital points to the PUK committee," said head of the KDP committee, Barzani. He added that the PUK has to respond to our proposal within the next few days. However, some PUK officials revealed that the party might become the cabinet's opposition.
In addition, Barzani stated that all the political parties should feel like they are winners in the elections and no party should be excluded in the process.
Until the last round of the talks, the PUK rejected the KDP's offer; meanwhile, Gorran says that it does not accept filling the post of a new security post in the new cabinet just for the sake of pleasing the PUK.
Deputy to the PM Barzani, Imad Ahmed, a PUK politburo member, said that his party stresses on getting either the interior or Peshmarga ministerial posts. He also warned that the PUK will form the opposition if its demands would not be met.
On the other hand, the KDP warned that if they cannot form a broad-based cabinet, then a majorityled government would be the final option. It also added that if the PUK decides not to take part in the cabinet, the posts remain vacant until the upcoming elections will be held, then the posts will be distributed.
The KDP negotiating committee met with both Islamic political parties in PM Barzani's house in Erbil on 8 April, 2014.
Head of KIU's negotiating committee Mawloud Bawa Murad told his party's official website that the KIU shares the same standpoint that the cabinet should be formed prior to the Iraqi Parliamentary elections, which will be held on 30 April . He further stated that the people's patience is over and they cannot wait any more.
"We talked about the KIU share within the new united cabinet. But there were still several differences between the two parties," concluded Mr. Murad.