ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Lawyers working for the second deputy of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Barham Salih registered his political entity on Saturday that will enter this year’s general elections in the Kurdistan Region.
Salih’s legal advisor Karim Bahri Bradosti said on Saturday in a news conference that he registered the list with the Kurdistan Region’s High Elections and Referendum Commission.
Salih’s voting list is called ‘Alliance for Democracy and Justice.’
“Barham Salih will issue a statement after the commission approves the entity,” Bradosti said.
Salih has served as PUK’s second deputy. He has also previously been the prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) from 2009 to 2012, and deputy prime minister of Iraq prior to that.
His entity will form an alliance for future elections in the Region.
Sulaiman Abdullah Yunis, a high PUK cadre who is also close to Salih, earlier confirmed to Rudaw the formation of the list that is due to be announced next week.
Yunis didn't reveal much information but said that "Barham [Salih] will reveal all the details himself next week.”
There has been a rift in the PUK, as its leader Jalal Talabani has become ill over the past few years and is currently in Germany.
Soon after Talabani became the Iraqi president, following a strategic pact with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), a large portion of the PUK left the party with the group's enormously influential deputy Nawshirwan Mustafa, who later founded the defiant Change Movement (Gorran) and became an arch rival of both the PUK and the KDP in 2009.
In the absence of an obvious alternative, the PUK rather reluctantly postponed the question of leadership for the party after Talabani.
Critics within the PUK accused Talabani's inner circle -- in particular the former first lady Hero Ibrahim Ahmed, of concentrating power in the hands of the immediate family while the party's two deputies, Kosrat Rasoul and Barham Salih, were left out with declining powers.
Both Rasoul and Salih have served as prime ministers of the Kurdistan Region and enjoy their own different power bases, although critics would say neither of the two has what it takes to replace Talabani in the party hierarchy.
The Kurdistan Region will hold a referendum on independence on September 25 to be followed by presidential and parliamentary elections on November 1.
The Kurdistan parliament hadn’t met in nearly two years because of tensions of between the KDP and Gorran, mainly because of the term of President Masoud Barzani, from the KDP, who has stayed in power beyond his term since 2015.
On Friday night, parliament was convened with the deputy speaker who is from the KDP. Gorran and Komal members were not present.
The parliament voted in a majority to back the Kurdish independnence vote set for September 25.