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Gorran could influence a PUK-KDP cabinet in new Kurdistan government

By Nawzad Mahmoud 5/11/2018
The Parliament of the Kurdistan Region in Erbil. File photo: Rudaw
The Parliament of the Kurdistan Region in Erbil. File photo: Rudaw
SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region — The new parliament of the Kurdistan Region is due to hold its first session on Tuesday with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) wanting ministries distributed by seat counts and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) favoring other options; however, the Change Movement (Gorran) despite its poor showing could influence the cabinet makeup if it participates.

“What would elections mean if we don’t take into account a points-based system or election merits,” said a KDP leadership member speaking on the condition on anonymity. 

A PUK leadership member has responded, saying: “If the KDP insists on pursuing such a mechanism, all other parties should approve it.”

The PUK has already made it known it doesn’t welcome the number of parliamentary seats as measurement for distributing government positions over parties wanting to participate in the formation of the new government.

“Party negotiations will be key in deciding a mechanism for distributing posts and the formation of the government. The question is not only about posts. Rather, in addition to posts, setting an agenda for the government is important for the PUK," said Rewas Fayeq, a PUK leadership member.

"The PUK wants to determine an agenda for the government in coordination with the KDP," she added.

She said a points-based mechanism for distributing government positions is not apt.

“The KDP is the first winner and it will decide with whom they will negotiate. But the situation of the PUK is different in the sense of political and geographical divisions. That is why the KDP and PUK should reach an agreement on the basis of these principles,” added Fayeq.

The KDP won 45 seats, the PUK 21, and Gorran 12 in the parliamentary election on September 30.

Gorran wants government positions to be distributed on the basis of election merits, unlike pre-2009 cabinets where posts were distributed solely between the KDP and PUK.

The KDP wants Gorran to take part in the government, which will prevent what the PUK wants — sharing government positions with the KDP 50/50 percent, according to KDP and Gorran sources.

“The KDP will form a government on a points-based system, on the basis of the number of seats or according to an agreement even if Gorran doesn’t participate in the government,” the KDP source said.

The KDP currently holds top ministries and the office of the prime minister. PUK has the deputy prime minister.

“If Gorran takes part in the government, they will be given the position of deputy prime minister. The PUK will get the post of parliament speaker in this case. This way, the government will not be broad-based or formed on the basis of 50 by 50. Turkmen parties have also been promised to be given a high post,” the KDP source added.

The PUK leadership council will meet this week. In the meeting, the PUK will decide what posts it wants and how the government should be formed, PUK leadership member Nasrullah Surchi said.

Some PUK officials think the party should ask for the position of parliament speaker.

“We think we are entitled to have the post of parliament speaker,” said Qadir Hamajan, PUK politburo executive.

Rudaw has learnt the PUK also wants posts of health, municipality and finance ministries.

Ismael Namiq, coordinator of Gorran's office of law, said the party has not ruled out remaining an opposition party.

“If Gorran wants or is asked to participate in this government, it should know how to take part and what it will do. However, the option of being opposition is increasingly becoming more popular among Gorran officials," he said.

Others have said Gorran wants to participate in the government and it would support a points-based system.

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