The Kurdistan parliament.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region— The Kurdish opposition Change Movement (Gorran) has asked the Iraqi parliament to take a position regarding the shutdown of the regional parliament in Erbil as Kurdish factions struggle to end the political deadlock that led to the closure of the assembly in October 2015.
“Our main objective is to reactivate the Kurdish parliament which is why we brought the case to Baghdad. The reactivation of the assembly is important but unfortunately no one paid attention to the issue,” said Kawa Muhamad, who is the head of Gorran parliamentary block in Baghdad.
The Kurdistan Regional Parliament has not convened since October 2015, despite repeated efforts to break the political impasse among Kurdish factions and ahead of the upcoming general elections tentatively set for the end of this year.
The parliament was virtually paralyzed when rioters stormed the offices of the dominant Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and killed three of its local members a year ago.
The KDP accused Gorran of orchestrating the fatal protests and in retaliation it removed the parliament speaker, Yousef Muhammad, who is a ranking Gorran official.
The KDP has said Muhammad was selected as the speaker largely due to KDP's power-sharing agreement with Gorran and that it reserves the right to replace the ousted speaker.
Gorran's precondition for reactivation of the parliament is however the unconditional return of Yousef, which the KDP has categorically rejected.
“It is not within the powers of the Iraqi parliament to reactivate the Kurdish assembly, but according to the article 61 of the constitution, if 25 MPs submit a request to the Iraqi parliament, the assembly can convene and ask the Kurdistan parliament to reactivate,” said Sadi Pira from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
The KDP which desperately needs the approval of the parliament for the anticipated referendum on Kurdish independence, has already shown support for the return of Gorran MPs and reactivation of the assembly, but it has so far rejected the return of the ousted speaker.
“We failed in our partnership with Gorran and don’t want to continue this alliance any more,” said KDP’s Khasraw Goran.
“The former speaker was not impartial and neither did he work as a an impartial speaker. This is why he should be replaced,” Goran said.