Shaswar Abdulwahid qadir, the president of the of the newly-founded New Generation Movement, speaks at a conference. He used to own the Sulaimani-based NRT media network. File photo: Qadir's Facebook page
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Shaswar Abdulwahid was elected president of the newly established New Generation Movement at its first congress on Friday.
The new political party held its congress after being licensed by the Iraqi government and the Iraqi High Electoral Commission to run in 2018 elections in the country.
According to NRT, the media outlet formerly owned by Abdulwahid, he beat out by a large margin four other candidates also competing for the position.
The new party is already facing a major challenge, however, as some of its members, including Ibrahim Abbas and Sherwan Sherwani who introduced themselves as from organizational bodies of the party in Erbil and Duhok, announced they were splintering from the party.
They claimed that Abdulwahid’s conduct and attitude had changed after he was released from prison.
Speaking at a press conference, they accused Abdulwahid of sidelining them and making unilateral decisions as to which direction the party’s congress should take.
They claimed hundreds of people had joined them in Erbil and Duhok, but none were invited to the congress. They also said they were not informed of the mechanism and timing of the party meeting.
The New Generation Movement announced they were expelling three members of the party, including Abbas and Sherwani. The party accused them of spying and informing security forces of the locations of anti-government protesters during demonstrations last month.
A wave of anti-government protests swept across Sulaimani and Halabja provinces in December, resulting in the deaths of at least three protesters. Hundreds more were wounded.
Abdulwahid was among the many arrested during a crackdown on the protests. He spent a week in detention before being released on bail.
Protesters demanded full payment of reduced or delayed salaries of public employees, better basic services such as electricity, and an end to wide-spread corruption in the KRG’s institutions.