Competition started to take Talabani’s seat
Kurdish well-known politician Mahmud Osman says that the post is not in the interest of the Kurds
Soon after the Iraqi Parliamentary Elections, the competition to take the Iraqi presidential post started. The Shiites and Sunnis along with the Kurds struggle to gain the seat.
Mahmud Osman, a Kurdish independent parliamentarian in the Iraqi Parliament and a renowned politician, says that he is not sure that the Kurds can take the post again.
“Taking the post would directly depend on the result of the Parliamentary Elections. How would the relations be between the Kurdish parties with the Shiites and Sunnis? How would the relations be among the Kurdish parties in Kurdistan? Will all the Kurdish parties agree to nominate one candidate for the post? All these factors are significant in deciding who will get the post,” Osman told the Kurdish media.
He further stated that the bigger picture would be cleared after the election results are announced, adding that the official stance of the Kurdish parties would be important too.
Osman announced that the seat is like a “ceremonial post” and it does not have any significance for the Kurds because the president cannot even reject the laws, and the post does not empower the president sufficiently.
The President Jalal Talabani, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) leader, stayed in the post for ten years. But it has been vacant since December 2012 when Talabani was transferred to a German hospital suffering from a stroke.
The situation is difficult for the Kurds this time because the Kurdish-Shiite friendship is not as stable as it was in the past and the Sunnis have not been a trustworthy friend during recent years. Despite the poor relations with the other Iraqi parties, the Kurdish parties will head for the capital of the federal Iraq with several separate lists to participate in the talks of forming the new cabinet.
The disputes between the Kurdish parties has intensified since the PUK senior official Adil Murad said that the post is the PUK’s share and the only candidate for the post is the current Kirkuk governor Najmaddin Kareem.
Kareem was rejected by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) to become the head of the Kurdish united list in Kirkuk before.
In a reaction to Murd’s speech, the Kurdistan Regional Presidency issued an official statement saying it will strive hard to retain the post for the Kurds but anyone who would be selected for the post must be approved by the Kurdistan Parliament.
The sentence above triggered a strong reaction from the PUK. The senior party members warned the KDP about this strange move.
According to the Strategic Agreement signed between the KDP and PUK in 2009, the PUK agreed to take care of the Kurdish affairs in Baghdad. Talabani took the Iraqi presi- dential post. In return, the KDP agreed to take care of the Kurdish affairs in Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan Region, and Massoud Barzani took the Kurdish presidential post. Now the agreement seems to be expired and none of the parties are keen on respecting the old agreement fully as Talabani is absent. Mohammed Saihood, a Member of Parliament from State of Law (SLC) of the Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, says that the post will not be given to a Kurd. It will be occupied, he said, based on the election results.
He expressed the official stance of his party and said that the SLC will support a moderate Sunni candidate for the post.
A few weeks ago, Sunni moderate leader Ayad Allawi expressed his support for the Kurdistan Regional President Barzani to become the next Iraqi president.
There are also Sunni leaders such as the Iraqi Parliament Speaker Osama Nujaifi and the deputy to the PM Maliki, Salih Mutlak , who are struggling to replace Talabani in the next Iraqi cabinet.
The tensions over the post are growing as the Arabs have an eye on the post and would like to snatch it from the grasp of the Kurds after 10 years.