President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - The President of the Kurdistan Region is scheduled to hold a meeting with Kurdish political parties, notably to discuss the question of referendum, said a local politician.
Saad Khalid, a member of the Kurdistan Toilers Party’s (KTP) Leadership Board who has been invited by President Masoud Barzani for Wednesday’s meeting, told Rudaw that “what we were told was that the central focus of the meeting will be discussions on referendum.”
Khalid says another topic expected to be discussed on the table will be Barzani’s recent visits made outside Kurdistan.
“The Kurdistan Region and the region are passing through a sensitive phase, so such meetings for the now-Kurdistan Region are very necessary,” Khalid noted.
However, the Change Movement (Gorran) has been at odds with Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) over the referendum. Gorran has been demanding the reactivation of the Kurdistan Region’s parliament in order to enter discussions, and thus again declined to take part in tomorrow’s expected meeting.
“As the Change Movement, we will not attend the meeting,” said Shorish Haji, the spokesperson of Gorran.
The Kurdish parliament has not convened since October 2015 when security forces in Erbil, largely under the control of the KDP, blocked the speaker, a Gorran party member, from returning to the capital where the parliament is located.
The row between the the KDP and Gorran worsened when protests broke out in areas under the influence of the Gorran Movement in Sulaimani province in October 2015 leading to the deaths of several KDP members. The KDP accused Gorran of orchestrating the violent protests. Gorran denied the accusations.
President Barzani repeatedly has reaffirmed that the referendum is most likely to take place before the end of this year.
The Kurdish presidency has already asked all parties to appoint their respective delegates to a commission that would be overseeing the referendum.