Nechirvan Barzani speaks at a press conference in Erbil on May 16, 2018. Photo: Rudaw TV
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A high-level Kurdish delegation soon will visit Baghdad to engage in talks on the formation of the next Iraqi government.
"In the near future [the Kurdish leadership] will go to Baghdad and begin talks with all the Iraqi parties to form the government," Nechirvan Barzani said in a press conference on Tuesday. "Right after the final announcement of the elections results, talks will start to form the Iraqi government, and as Kurds we will seriously be part of it.”
Barzani is prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government and deputy head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, which claimed the most votes among Kurdish parties in Iraq’s May 12 parliamentary elections.
Compared with the rest of Iraq, "the turnout was very promising" in the Kurdistan Region.
“The first thing we have to do is to put the Kurdish house in order," Barzani said, adding the Iraqi electoral commission has to "quell the serious concerns" which the Kurdish six parties have regarding preliminary results.
According to preliminary official results, the PUK won in Sulaimani by a large margin, shockingly reclaiming the province from Gorran who has had the majority since 2009 when the party first emerged.
Six parties – Gorran, Komal, KIU, CDJ, IKM, and the Communist Party – have rejected the result and called for a complete do-over, accusing the PUK of fraud.
"The commission must take all the necessary measures…” added Barzani, noting that the KDP would be supportive of a manual ballot recount.
He emphasized that it is important for the demands of these parties be met before going to Baghdad.
“We have to go to Baghdad together," Barzani said. "In order to be able to do serious work in Baghdad, we must present a united front in Baghdad."
He added the Kurdish leadership "feels" a new phase is ahead for Iraq, and the KRG will go Baghdad with the hope that "a consensus is reached and partnership accepted."
They have not started talks with any party to form the next Iraqi government, according to Barzani.
Asked to reveal the details of a meeting he held with Brett McGurk, Barzani said the US wants government for Iraq that serves all the sides and people without preference for any political party or side.
He revealed McGurk, the US Special Presidential Envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition, will return to Erbil on Wednesday and meet KDP leader Masoud Barzani.
The PUK, which obtained the second-most votes among Kurdish parties, met with foreign consuls at its office in Erbil on Wednesday.
The Kurdistan Region is scheduled to hold its delayed regional elections on September 30.
A failure to reach a consensus for a coalition government in Baghdad among the winning lists would not affect Kurdistan’s election, Barzani said.
According to official preliminary results released by the election commission, the KDP received the most votes, followed by the PUK, and the Change Movement (Gorran).
"We thank the KDP supporters,” Barzani expressed.
Asked which sovereign post the Kurds would demand, Barzani said problems over the past 12 years for Kurds haven’t been about posts, but about the implementation of the constitution, and Baghdad’s refusal for partnership.
Iraq will announce official results by May 27, its Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday. According to the constitution, after final results are released, the president gives 15 days for the newly elected Council of Representatives to hold its first session. The oldest MP will run sessions where the speaker and deputy will be chosen.
Then the new parliament will elect a new president within three days. The new president will recommend for the largest bloc in parliament to form a cabinet within 30 days. If that bloc fails, another bloc will be recommended to form the government, this time within 15 days.