The Change Movement (Gorran) leader Omer Saed Ali (L) in a meeting with Ali Bapir, head of the Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal) in Sulaimani on September 4, 2017. Photo: Sbeiy
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - The Change Movement (Gorran) and Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal) jointly called for the Kurdistan Region’s independence referendum to be delayed, following a meeting between both parties’ leaders on Monday.
In a joint statement, both parties demanded “procrastinating the referendum for a right time and that decision be made and a law passed for it through the parliament.”
Gorran has repeatedly said the current arrangement for holding the referendum is illegal, arguing that the parliament is the right institution to call for the vote when the time is right.
Gorran, together with Komal have so far refused to attend any of the meetings related to the referendum, saying that the vote must have a mandate from the parliament.
The KDP said last month that it dropped all preconditions for reactivating the parliament, namely removing parliamentary speaker and Gorran member Yousif Mohammed from his post and banning discussions on the position of the presidency.
The statement also asked the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to cancel the “saving salary system” by which public servants receive only part of their wages. The system was, however, introduced by the government as part of its austerity measures to deal with the ongoing financial crisis.
Both parties urged the reactivation of the parliament in the sense that it should “execute its legislative work and monitoring.”
The Kurdistan parliament, in the wake of the deterioration of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Gorran relations over the post of the Region’s president expired in August 2015, has remained closed despite failed attempts from the parties to re-open it before the “historical” independence referendum is held on September 25.
The joint statement urged “holding the elections on its legal time,” in likely reference to the parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled to take place on November 1.
The statement concluded that both Komal and Gorran were ready for “serious talks for resolving the crisis.”
Komal has been on the same page as Gorran towards the referendum. Neither party has named its representative to the High Referendum Council.
In the Kurdistan Region's last elections in 2013, the KDP won 38 seats, followed by the Gorran with 24 seats, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) with 18, the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) with 10, and Komal with 6.