Gorran’s candidates gather at a rally launching their campaign under a banner reading ‘Towards a just and serving region’ at the party’s headquarters in Sulaimani on Wednesday. Photo: Rudaw TV
SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region – Gorran, meaning change, is campaigning on a pledge to introduce changes to Kurdistan Region’s government systems – namely building a strong parliamentary system and institutionalizing the oil sector and security forces.
Head of the party’s list, Ali Hama Saleh, launched Gorran’s campaign from their headquarters in Sulaimani on Wednesday.
“The Gorran movement is a big obstacle in the face of oppression and tyranny. It is the duty of all of us to strengthen and bolster this obstacle towards greater change in the governing system,” he said.
“We will go into elections with a national program to build the parliamentary majority. Alongside likeminded forces, we will create a strong political front for radical change,” he explained, outlining the party’s main aims.
First is bolstering the role of the parliament in monitoring the government, especially with regards to the budget, and establishing a parliamentary system.
Gorran has long called for the abolition of the KRG presidency, advocating for a parliamentary system of governance.
Disputes over this issue with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) was one factor that led to the KDP barring Gorran’s parliament speaker from entering Erbil and the party ultimately quitting the coalition government to stand in opposition.
The office of the president has been suspended since Masoud Barzani refused to extend his term last October. Presidential duties have been divvied out among the prime minister, parliament, and judiciary and elections for a new president have not been scheduled.
The party will work on writing a constitution that would see the parliamentary system being implemented.
Head of Gorran’s list, Ali Hama Saleh, speaks at the campaign rally. Photo: Rudaw TV
Gorran’s second electoral pledge is to work towards an agreement with the central government of Iraq, resolving issues of the budget, disputed lands, the Peshmerga, oil, and salaries.
Third is reforms to the salary and pension systems. Gorran said they will end the unpopular salary saving system brought in as part of austerity measures that sparked large protests. They will also remit salary payments that were withheld under the saving scheme.
The party will also unify the KRG’s pension laws with those of Iraq and increase payments to retirees.
The party also wants to “institutionalize the oil sector” so as to make details of exports, imports, revenues, expenditures and full financial disclosure available to the public and parliament, Saleh explained.
Gorran wants to see oil revenues deposited in government banks, rather than private ones.
To create economic growth and more job opportunities, Gorran said it will amend the investment law and abolish monopolies.
Institutionalizing the security forces including the Peshmerga and Asayesh (internal security), is another campaign pledge of the party, “instead of two parties and their officials thinking they own them, to use them for their own interests,” said Saleh, taking a dig at the KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
Gorran is appealing to voters on the basis of its record.
When Gorran’s parliament speaker and ministers were in the parliament, “oppressive” policies like the salary saving system did not exist, Saleh pointed out.
“This is evidence that Gorran’s rule is in the service of the public,” he said.
While others whose hands have been “stained black” with public money were giving handouts of millions of dollars, Gorran will start a “responsible” campaign for the elections, Saleh added.
“Certainly, this process of change will persist with great hope,” he said.
An overview of the Kurdistan Region parliamentary elections