A Kurdistan parliament session. Rudaw file photo
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The first session of the Kurdistan parliament in two years has been postponed until Friday evening. The primary item on the agenda is the independence referendum. More than 60 MPs have called for the legislature to approve the September 25 vote date.
After a meeting between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) factions, it was decided that the parliament will sit on Friday at 7pm and for this purpose the deputy speaker called upon all the members to attend.
The session will be an extraordinary sitting “on the question of referendum and self-determination right,” said Jaafar Iminiki, deputy speaker.
Parliament had initially been set to convene on Thursday.
The session was postponed in order to comply with legal procedures, Iminiki explained to Rudaw in an interview on Wednesday. It must be held “48 hours after the call for assembly,” he said, adding “the session is open and all the parties can attend it.”
It is not clear whether Gorran will take part in Friday’s sitting, but a member of the party said the postponement had been upon their request.
“The postponement of the parliament session was upon our request. We told the American delegation the parliament should be postponed until Sunday, but later they said it would be postponed until Friday,” said Abdulrazaq Sharif, a member of Gorran’s National Assembly.
Gorran leader Omer Saed Ali met with Brett McGurk, US Special Presidential Envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition, on Wednesday in Sulaimani.
Sharif added, however, “It is not clear whether or not we take part in the parliament session.”
Gorran member Yousif Mohammed is the speaker of the parliament. If his party does not attend on Friday, it is not clear yet who will head the session.
It could be headed by “the deputy parliament speaker or the oldest MP, but it is more likely for the deputy speaker to lead as per article 18 of the parliament bylaw in case Gorran does not attend,” Iminiki explained.
Parliament has not convened in two years amid a dispute between KDP and Gorran, but a recent flurry of negotiations, spurred by demands for the parliament to issue a mandate for the upcoming referendum, has brought them closer to a resolution.