ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Relations between the two ruling parties of the Kurdistan Region are like a Catholic marriage – separation is not possible – said the PUK spokesperson.
“It is true that there has been a setback in our relations, but it is like a Catholic marriage where there is no separation. We both have responsibilities,” Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) spokesperson Saadi Pira told Rudaw of their ties with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
The PUK and KDP have dominated the Kurdistan Region since its foundation. Their relations have experienced ups and downs – from electoral alliances to civil war.
The KDP came out of the recent Kurdistan Region parliament elections as the victor, though the PUK also gained on its previous record.
While the KDP could theoretically form the government on its own, it wants to reach an agreement with the PUK.
“Without the PUK, we cannot run the government alone,” Arif Taifoor, KDP leader in Sulaimani said on Thursday.
Opposition parties like Gorran and the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) saw their seats slashed in the election, leaving the majority of power in the hands of the KDP and PUK.
The new parliament will hold its first session on November 6.
Pira told Rudaw that the posts of prime minister and speaker of parliament should be discussed among the parties before the legislature sits, but there have so far only been unofficial and secret meetings and phone calls between the parties.
“The Kurdistan Democratic Party’s leadership is smart and they want a successful government,” he said. “Therefore the government will not be formed based on numbers. A strong government will require history, geography, power and other things.”
Lawmakers in the Kurdistan Region parliament are elected to represent their parties and not specific areas or provinces. The majority of the KDP’s 45 seats are from the party’s stronghold in Duhok, meaning power in the parliament is weighted in favour of that province over Sulaimani and Halabja.
Previous governments have been formed on the basis of delicate power-sharing agreements.
Pira warned against introducing new posts, like a second deputy prime minister, saying creating power positions to lure parties into the cabinet will just enlarge the government and weaken the PUK.