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Nechirvan Barzani is the logical choice to lead KRG, says KDP politburo

By Rudaw 6/11/2018
Fazil Mirani, the secretary of the Kurdistan Democratic Party Politburo, speaks in an interview with Rudaw TV that was broad cast on November 5, 2018.
Fazil Mirani, the secretary of the Kurdistan Democratic Party Politburo, speaks in an interview with Rudaw TV that was broad cast on November 5, 2018.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Fazil Mirani, the KDP’s Politburo’s secretary, argued incumbent Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani should be the logical choice for everyone to lead the next Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) — and not just for the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

"I couldn't tell you officially, but based on logic, Mr. Nechirvan is a prominent candidate of not only the KDP — I imagine for other political forces as well, and even among the populace," said Mirani during an interview broadcast by Rudaw TV on Monday.

The 52-year-old is experienced in government, added Mirani.

"His reign in the past years in the Kurdistan Regional Government, whether Mr. Nechirvan was the deputy [prime minister] or the prime minister, isn't devoid of shortcomings, but it is also filled with achievements," Mirani said.

Barzani has served three terms as KRG’s PM since the reunification of the KRG in 2005 —from 2006-2009, 2012-2014, and then his current term began in 2014. 

Previously he served as the prime minister of KDP’s controlled zone from 1999 to 2005 during the Kurdistan Region’s administrative split with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

Mirani argued Barzani has "protected" the Kurdistan Region through his diplomatic efforts following what were perceived as punitive measures by Baghdad against the Kurdistan Region for holding an independence referendum on September 25, 2017.

Following the federal takeover of the disputed territories in October 2017, many were concerned of threats against the constitutional entity of the Kurdistan Region, which saw international borders closed, international flight bans, and fighting between the Peshmerga and Iraqi Army and paramilitary forces.

Barzani went on a diplomatic whirlwind, visiting capitals in Iraq, Iran, Turkey, France, and elsewhere in Europe. As KDP deputy, Barzani maintained open communications with the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and other leaders as Iraq has continued to form its own new government.

Domestically, "civil security" and people’s livelihoods should be top priority, said Mirani. That requires cooperation among Kurdistani parties, providing the KRG with a stronger hand in negotiations with Baghdad.

Mirani noted the PUK did not Barzani's outgoing government, saying those who met their responsibility like PUK should be allowed to demand their rights.

He added the party will soon start government formation talks, but are waiting for the return of KDP President Masoud Barzani, who is currently outside of the Kurdistan Region on a visit.

Members of the new Kurdistan Region parliament will convene on Tuesday to be sworn in.

KDP won 45 seats in the parliamentary elections, making it a shy 11 seats away from securing an absolute majority. KDP leaders have said they will deal posts for parties on a point-based system correlating to their electoral seats.

It wants both the PUK and the Change Movement (Gorran) to participate in the government.

Following electoral gains, the PUK is said to be seeking the posts of deputy prime minister, which is already held by its member Qubad Talabani, and the speaker of parliament. Talabani led PUK ticket amassing more votes than any other candidate.

The next parliament will face challenges such as the delayed ratification of the constitution, presidential law, authority over the Region’s armed forces, and an ongoing budget feud with Baghdad.

They are convening their first session on Tuesday.

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