Change Movement (Gorran) and Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal) leaders (R) met in Sulaimani on July 11, 2017 at Gorran headquarters in Sulaimani. Photo: Komal Political Council/Facebook
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - The Change Movement (Gorran) and Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal) jointly announced that the Kurdistan parliament has to be reactivated and the referendum vote be a step for an independence declaration. They also called for the general elections, currently set for November this year, to be held on or before the day of the referendum
Following a meeting on Tuesday which was held between the leaderships of Gorran and Komal at Gorran's headquarters in Sulaimani, both parties stressed that "the Kurdistan Region institutions, above all, the Kurdistan parliament has to be unconditionally normalized and carry out their work without any impediments."
It added that the "referendum should be a step towards the declaration of the independent state of Kurdistan including Kurdistani [disputed] areas."
The statement read that both parties have "serious reservations about the current preparations and mechanisms" of the referendum.
Gorran, Komal and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) have not yet sent each party’s delegate to the referendum committee.
On Monday, the referendum committee headed by President Masoud Barzani visited Belgium and today started its official meetings with the country's officials, to be followed by other meetings with EU officials.
The Gorran, Komal, and the PUK — which hold three of the five most seats in the Kurdish parliament — did not send delegates to accompany on the visit.
"The Kurdistan nation's independence right is natural right of Kurdistan,” read the joint statement.
The Kurdish parliament has remained deactivated after it shut down in October 2015 in the wake of the deterioration of the KDP and Gorran relations, mainly over the question of the post of the President, leading to the sacking of Gorran ministers in the government in Erbil and the barring of speaker Yousif Mohammed, a Gorran party member, from returning to the capital.
The KDP accused Gorran of orchestrating violent protests in several towns of Sulaimani province that led to the deaths of KDP members and torching its offices. Gorran denied the accusations.
The referendum committee was formed on June 7 at a meeting between a majority of parties in the Kurdistan Region and chaired by President Barzani. Gorran and the Islamic Group (Komal) have refused to attend meetings related to the referendum.
The statement jointly issued by Komal and Gorran also addressed the needs to improve the livelihood of people, to reach a national unanimity, and to hold governmental elections on or before the day of the referendum.
The statement emphasized that "the public elections have to take place on time and referendum be delayed for after the elections or takes place simultaneously with the general elections."
It also urged "the fulfillment of internal peace and national unanimity on the decisive and national questions through dialogue between the major forces of the Kurdistan Region.
The Kurdistan Region in early 2014 faced budget cuts from Baghdad, a drop in oil prices, a war with ISIS, and an influx of refugees.
The KRG launched a massive institutional and financial reform plan at the start of 2016, including austerity measures, pay cuts for about a third of public servant salaries except for the security officials, and the cleanup of duplicate names on its payroll in order to reduce the budget deficit.
"The living conditions of people have to be improved and the saving [salary] system completely revoked," added the statement.