Gorran and PUK leaders at the signing of their alliance deal in Sulaimani, May 2016. Rudaw photo
SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region— A much debated pact between Kurdish opposition group the Change Movement (Gorran) and the dominant Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) signed last year has been called into question by leading Gorran lawmakers over the past week, accusing PUK of undermining the deal.
The polemical PUK-Gorran pact sent shockwaves in Kurdistan Region when it was announced in May last year whose implementation could have upset the political order in the country dominated by the powerful Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and its strategic alliance with the PUK.
The deal would most notably allow PUK and Gorran to enter general elections on a joint ballot and consequently increase their chances to form the next Kurdish cabinet, which if implemented, would have diminished KDP’s dominance over government bodies since the 1990s.
The KDP currently holds 38 seats in the parliament while Gorran and PUK have 24 and 18, respectively.
But with the general elections’ increasing likelihood of postponement beyond September deadline, many Gorran lawmakers have chosen to slam their PUK partners for dishonoring the deal.
“There are no longer any justifications for silence, as the time has come to warn the PUK leadership officially and publicly, in order to find out whether they are prepared to enforce the deal or not,” read a Gorran statement issued on Monday.
The statement says, “nearly 8 months have passed since the pact was signed, but because of the negligence of some PUK leaders, no article of the deal has been implemented.”
Gorran, a splinter party which broke away from the PUK in 2009 and steadily grew larger than its parent party, has been loudly profiling against both the KDP and the PUK.
Gorran prominent member Adnan Osman, who in the past led the party’s parliamentary block, told Rudaw that the deal had stagnated due to “some self-interested PUK leaders” who see the implementation of the deal as detrimental to their position and power.
“Some of the PUK heads behave as if they have no deal with the Gorran Movement,” Osman said. “These people have particular financial interests at stake with the KDP in Erbil,” he added.
Osman said that Gorran was left with the option of leaving the political process in the Kurdistan Region altogether and become an opposition group instead.
The KDP-led government in 2013 entered negotiations with the Gorran and agreed on a broad-based cabinet in which Gorran had heavy positions including the ministries of finances, the Peshmarga and the speaker of the parliament while also the PUK held top positions in the same government.
Nevertheless, the honeymoon between the three parties was short-lived when Baghdad cut the $1 billion monthly pay to the Kurdistan Region in early 2014 leaving the Kurdish government with colossal debts to pay its nearly 1,5 million employees. And as the oil prices dropped quickly over the coming year, so did the level of relations between Gorran and the KDP.
Several party officials in the parliament have announced since last week that due to financial and political disharmony in the country, September elections are likely to be postponed.