Gorran supporters at a political rally. Photo: Sartip Othman
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – After a reported confrontation between Gorran supporters and armed forces loyal to the PUK during disputes over election results, Gorran is considered creating an armed self-defence force.
A senior Gorran leader said that having an armed force, named The Gorran Protection Force, for the party has become a serious topic of discussion among both the leadership and supporters.
According to information Rudaw has obtained, the potential force could reach an estimated 10,000 members, pulled from party ranks, veteran Peshmerga, and volunteers.
Ten thousand is equal to the active personnel in the armed forces of the Republic of the Congo, a country with a population of nearly five million, according to data from Global Firepower. It is also a fraction of the size of the forces loyal to the KDP and PUK.
“The question of a military force from the supporters and leadership of Gorran is for self-protection and seriously being discussed and worked on,” Shorish Haji, head of Gorran’s executive body, told Rudaw.
Iraqis went to the polls on May 12 to elect a new government. As results began to be released Saturday night, Gorran reported that their headquarters in Sulaimani had come under attack, allegedly by the PUK.
PUK leaders denied the alleged attack.
Gorran has disputed preliminary election results that show PUK won Sulaimani by a large margin, gaining eight seats and reclaiming the province from Gorran, which got four seats.
That result shocked all the parties, who have accused the PUK of fraud. Six parties – Gorran, Komal, KIU, CDJ, IKM, and the Communist Party – have rejected the result and called for a complete do-over of the election.
“We are not creating the force for retaliation,” Haji explained. “Otherwise, the evening we came under gunfire, our supporters would have forced them to leave all their party shelters across the cities and towns” of Sulaimani province.
Haji said the room where Gorran, CDJ, KIU, and Komal were holding a meeting was fired on with heavy weapons. He said those firing the weapons were aiming to kill.
Gorran has filed a police report and Haji said the attackers must be arrested and tried.
Rudaw has learnt that Gorran is refusing to meet with any PUK delegation unless the party refers the attackers to the court. The party has also reportedly threatened to expel any member caught welcoming any PUK delegation.