Secretary of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Politburo Fazil Mirani. Photo: Rudaw video
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A high-ranking Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) official said on Saturday they are doing their outmost to reactivate the Kurdistan parliament with the participation of the Change Movement (Gorran) which has been at odds with the KDP on two issues: the mechanism of calling a referendum on independence and amendment of the presidential law.
“We will try our best to include Gorran in reopening the parliament,” Fazil Mirani, secretary of the KDP politburo, told Rudaw.
Mirani said their party’s door is open for talks on the heated questions the Region is busy with, including the referendum, presidential and parliamentary elections, and the reopening of the parliament which has been closed since October 2015.
“We will not close our doors on anyone and do not like anyone who does,” Mirani said in Koye town, eastern Erbil province.
The Change Movement (Gorran), which holds the position of the speaker of parliament, has already refused a joint offer from the KDP and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) to reactivate the parliament, insisting that it does not accept "conditional" terms attached to the initiative, Gorran spokesperson Shorish Haji has said in a televised statement on Wednesday.
Mirani said they understand the situation of Gorran who are mourning their founder and leader Nawshirwan Mustafa who died in Sulaimani on May 19.
He called for all parties to show tolerance and acceptance with each other.
Commenting on a joint committee which is in the process of being formed from all Kurdish parties, Mirani said they hope Gorran will appoint its delegate to the committee tasked with visiting neighboring and world countries to discuss the referendum.
Gorran, which has 24 seats in the parliament, turned down Kurdish President Masoud Barzani’s call to attend a “historical” all-party meeting earlier this month at which the referendum date was set.
The Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal), which has 6 seats in the parliament, also declined to attend the meeting.
“We are trying to talk to them, too,” Mirani said, in reference to the Komal party.
The decision to reactivate the parliament that has not convened since October 2015 was made in a high-level meeting between the two main ruling parties, the KDP and the PUK, and remains the only initiative the KDP has on the issue, Mirani confirmed.
Their plan to reactive the parliament was for Gorran Speaker Yousif Mohammed to lead the first session to be followed by his resignation and that of his entire team in the second session.
The proposal came as many parties have said they believe the Kurdistan Region’s referendum on independence, scheduled for September 25, should be dealt with through the parliament, not at the political party level.
“The Gorran Movement declare that since October 12, 2015 we have emphasized that... the parliament with its current elected presidency team should return to its work,” Gorran's Haji said in the televised statement, adding that a functioning legislature would solve the legal and political crisis and the ongoing financial crisis that has plagued the Kurdistan Region since early 2014.
“Any other mechanism to normalize the situation through the conditional reactivation of parliament is not acceptable to us, because the reason behind paralyzing the Kurdistan parliament is not its presidency, but the expiring of the Kurdistan Region Presidency’s term in office and the parliament’s attempt to amend the law of the [Kurdistan] Region’s presidency,” he continued.
Relations between the KDP and Gorran deteriorated in October 2015 when the KDP sacked Gorran ministers and its speaker of parliament who took office after a deal with the KDP following the 2013 elections.
The KDP accused Gorran of orchestrating riots against its offices in several cities. Gorran denied the accusations.
Tensions between the two parties have also remained strained when the speaker refused to cancel a parliamentary session in 2015 planned to discuss President Masoud Barzani's second-term in office which was due to expire on August 19 that year.
Speaker Mohammed is not allowed to run for the speaker of the parliament when a new one is elected, Rudaw has learned from sources, a condition set by the KDP.
One other issue between the KDP and Gorran is the system of governance, with the KDP calling for a presidential system, while Gorran calls for a parliamentary one.