Kurdistan parliament held its first session in two years after it was closed in October 2015 because of tensions between KDP and Gorran. File photo: Rudaw/Farzin Hassan
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Gorran has called the Kurdistan parliament session that its faction boycotted a continuation of a “coup” carried out by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) with total silence from some parties.
In its first session since October 2015, the parliament voted on Friday to approve holding the independence referendum on September 25. The session was boycotted by Gorran’s 24 MPs and the six MPs from the Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal).
Sixty-five MPs from the 111-seat legislature voted in favor of the motion tasking the Kurdistan election body with holding the referendum.
It also approved all decisions and procedures taken by the High Referendum Council that was formed by the majority of parties.
“This is legitimizing the illegitimate High Referendum Council,” said Burzo Majeed, reading a statement from his party.
He said it is Gorran’s belief that the Kurdistan parliament is the right institution to decide on the vital referendum matter, but they do not agree with the way the session was held.
Gorran said prior to the parliament sitting that their faction would not attend due to a breach in parliamentary procedures leading to the session. The party believes the parliament speaker, a Gorran member, should have convened the legislature instead of his deputy who is from the KDP.
Gorran takes credit for introducing the first parliamentary opposition when it won 25 seats in the 2009 general elections and then 24 seats in 2013.
Majeed said they wanted the parliament to play an active role, but the Kurdish government has resisted this since parliament’s foundation in 1992. He said his party never wanted the parliament to take “orders from political parties.”
The two years the parliament was shut created the right environment for the KDP-led government to take certain measures that worsened the financial situation of the people, he claimed.
He stopped short of opposing the Kurdistan referendum, stating that Gorran supports a vote on independence under certain conditions when the “time is right.”
He said that Gorran has believed in an independent state for Kurdistan since day one and that principle was upheld by the party’s late leader Nawshirwan Mustafa in his Newroz speech in 2012.
The presidency law is also at the heart of Gorran’s parliamentary work, Majeed explained.
Barzani’s term in office and the debate about what system should Kurdistan have — presidential as promoted by Barzani’s KDP or parliamentarian as almost all other major parties demand — have been the main factors behind the political stalemate that shut the parliament for two years.
Barzani's term in office ended in 2013 after he served two four-year terms. It was then extended for two years by an act from parliament, then dominated by the KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). It was further extended by a Kurdish court when the political parties failed to reach a negotiated solution.