Some 244 of 350 founding members of the CDJ elected Aram Qadir to lead the rebranded 'National Coaliton.'
"I thank the faith of each member of the Coalition," said Qadir after being elected.
Many CDJ supporters were dissatisfied members of the PUK or other parties primarily from Sulaimani province.
"We want to, from today on, leave the past behind, not talk of the past again..." he said.
CDJ did not win any seats in the Kurdistan Region's parliamentary election, as the previous leader Barham Salih called on the party not to run.
"We want for the next four years to implement a robust program through drawing up a strategy to compensate the damage incurred by the coalition," calling for "reformers" to make change.
The National Coalition plans to run in future elections. Iraq was expected to hold a provincial election in December, although slow government formation likely means they will need more time for preparations.
"We announce from here that we will start the election campaigning for the next election to turn the Coalition into an effective and impacting force in the Kurdistan Region."
CDJ now is 'The National Coalition', 2 Iraqi MPs say they'll remain loyal
CDJ’s two MPs in the Iraqi parliament, Abdulbari Majid and Rebwar
Karim, wrote on Friday that they will continue their work in Baghdad.
“We are of the thinking that whatever decision concerning
the future of the Coalition is made, let it be everyone’s decision,” read the
It was addressed to the Coalition of Democracy and Justice’s founding members and to the executive and general councils.
It claimed their numbers would be larger in Baghdad if
elections were “clean.”
They vowed to not join any other factions and work directly
and continuously with Iraqi President Barham Salih.
“Our direct relation with Mr. Dr. Barham Salih is
continuous. We hold discussions with him about all the topics, and we will
continue doing so. We fully support him for the programs and plans he has for
serving the people of Iraq and Kurdistan.
The letter in its entirety:
It is known to all of you that we
worked diligently from the very beginning to make the Coalition entity succeed.
At the time when we were given the duty of heading the list, we went from house
to house, bazar, alleys and streets restlessly and voiced Coalition’s message
to the people. If the elections had been clean and flawless, then we surely
would have been a considerable number of Coalition’s representatives in the
We present the following points
forth to you concerning the future of the coalition:
1 - The Coalition, before being a
political entity, is a clear message of serving people. That is why, we insist
and will work on the message of Coalition and the promises we gave to the
2 - We are of the thinking that
whatever decision concerning the future of the Coalition is made, let it be
everyone’s decision, be it a decision to dissolve or continue. We believe that
Coalition’s continuation in its current form and type isn’t easy or good.
3 - We, as long as coalition
remains, will be the Coalition Faction and haven’t merged with any other
faction, and we also have the same stance as any force that truthfully works on
achieving the rights of the people of Kurdistan.
4 - Our direct relation with Mr.
Dr. Barham Salih is continuous. We hold discussions with him about all the
topics, and we will continue doing so. We fully support him for the programs
and plans he has for serving the people of Iraq and Kurdistan.
CDJ Founding Board member Mohammed Rauf speaks at an exceptional party congress in Erbil, Kurdistan Region, on November 9, 2018. Photo: Rudaw TV
CDJ renames itself 'The National Coalition'
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The Coalition for Democracy and Justice (CDJ) voted to continue as a political party after calls by party founder Barham Salih, who has since returned to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), to dissolve. The party is set to choose new leadership on Friday and have already decided to rebrand the party as "The National Coalition."
"Today, in this exceptional congress, the decision to revise, change, and continue for the CDJ is in your hands,” Mohammed Rauf, a member of its Founding Board, said in a speech in the party congress held in Erbil.
In the ensuing vote that took place, members voted for the CDJ to remain as a political party.
"That is why, today in this congress, we will undertake two important tasks: The decision to continue with necessary changes and tweaks — we will determine that in a general public voting. Second, filling the gap of the presidency... it will be determined through secret voting," added Rauf.
Now Iraqi President Salih founded the CDJ in September 2017 and won just two seats in the Iraqi parliamentary election in May.
"Dear CDJ members, the Coalition for Democracy and Justice came to existence during a time of when Kurdistan was plagued with many political, economic, cultural, and social issues and crisis."
Kurdistan was divided ideologically, socially, along party lines, and class.
"This became the main factor, encouraging us to adopt a new path in political work and find a mutual vision for our society," added Rauf.
Under the leadership of Salih, CDJ did not run as a party in the Kurdistan Region’s parliamentary election on September 30. Some party members ran, but did not earn enough votes for seats.
Rauf claimed they were the torchbearers of "civilized" campaigning in the elections, symbolizing co-existence and calm. He argued the CDJ has faced hurdles like election rigging, and Salih and others’ departure.
Their discourse is to end political and partisan extremism, to stop mixing party interests with public and national interests, and election fraud.
"We will intensify our efforts so that in the next period, we become a source of hope of the largest number of populace, the citizens of Kurdistan, and fermenter of uniting the forces of good."
The congress will continue until 1 p.m., so it will see new leaders elected to fill the position of party founder.
Since Salih’s departure, there has been uncertainty over what would happen to the party. He has reportedly called for dissolution of party, if not for a name change.
Near midday they announced they would change their name to "The National Coalition."
Additionally a Political Council, Executive Council, and Representatives' Council have been established for general party formation.