Then head of the Coalition for Democracy and Justice Barham Salih (left) rallies supporters at a rally on April 16, 2018. Photo: Salih FB
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — According to sources close to Iraqi President Barham Salih, he has called on remaining comrades from the Coalition of Democracy (CDJ) founded by Salih to dismantle the party a little more than a year after its foundation.
After controversially assuming the post of the Iraqi president, Salih returned to Sulaimani where he received a warm reception at the airport last week. A leading official of the CDJ revealed that Salih had met with them and called on them to abolish the party.
"It was a friendly meeting. He preferred for the CDJ to be dismantled," a member CDJ who has remained running the party said. The source wished to remain anonymous. "But some CDJ leaders did not make any promises."
If they rejected abolishing the party, Salih urged CDJ leaders to change its name.
"But, the one deciding for the CDJ to be dismantled or continue working is the party congress not Mr. Barham," the source revealed.
According to information obtained, some leaders of the CDJ are adamant that the party should continue its work but with certain modifications.
"Those who had joined the CDJ and come from the PUK prefer to dismantle the CDJ. But the CDJ has decided to continue and insisted to hold a congress,” said Osman Golpi, another CDJ official.
He explained the final decision lies in the hands of the party’s members.
"The congress decides whether or not the CDJ should continue. Is it going to remain as it is now, or is it going to reemerge in a new form or change its name, these questions will be answered and decided on by CDJ’s members?” posited Golpi.
In coordination with some leaders from the Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal) and the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU), Salih established the CDJ in September 2017 and held its first congress on January 10, 2018 and took part in the Iraqi party election on May 12 when they won just two seats.
The rival Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) is adamant the CDJ should be dismantled. But top CDJ leaders such as Aram Qadir, Mohammed Rauf and Sargul Qaradakhi are firmly against the party’s dissolution. It is expected to hold an extraordinary meeting or congress later this week.
CDJ is now being run by Qadir, who has repeatedly said the party will reorganize itself.
"The CDJ claiming it would continue is not a realistic thing. How could this party fund itself, run its media and reformulate its relations with other parties. All these things require financial capabilities," said another CDJ member on the condition of anonymity. "Of the 14 founding members of the CDJ, 11 were PUK members and that is why it is difficult to continue.
"Even if the CDJ remains, it will become a small political project and will have no role and influence.”
Prior to the Kurdistan Region’s election in September, Salih called on the party not to field candidates. Some party members ran, but they did not garner enough votes to win any seats.