The Kurdish parliament has remained paralyzed for a year.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - The Kurdistan Regional Parliament has not convened since October 10 last year, despite repeated efforts to break the political impasse among Kurdish factions and less than nine months before the upcoming general elections tentatively set for next July.
The parliament was virtually paralyzed when rioters stormed the offices of the dominant Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and killed three of its local members a year ago.
The KDP accused the rival Change Movement (Gorran) of orchestrating the fatal protests and in retaliation it removed the parliament speaker, Yousef Muhammad, who is a ranking Gorran official.
The KDP has said Muhammad was selected as the speaker largely due to KDP's power-sharing agreement with Gorran and that it reserves the right to replace the ousted speaker.
Gorran's precondition for reactivation of the parliament is the unconditional return of Yousef, which the KDP has categorically rejected.
The head of the KDP faction in parliament, Omid Khoshnaw, told Rudaw that by removing Yousef, efforts to destabilize the Region had been thwarted, since according to him Gorran had been trying to "undermine political consensus" in the parliament and replace it with "anarchy and rioting."
"Taking advantage of the public and storming and torching the KDP office, killing and wounding its cadres," were actions that prompted the KDP decision to remove Yousef according to Khoshnaw, who accuses the speaker of encouraging the angry rioters to the deadly "vandalism."
It is unclear how the upcoming general elections will take place next year with both the 111-parliament seats and the post of the presidency of the Region are at stake.
Gorran has said it will not support a direct public vote for the election of the president and wants the parliament to select the regional president, largely with symbolic powers as in the Iraqi governing system.
The KDP, however, has championed a direct popular vote for the president with constitutional and formal powers.