ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Gorran is waiting for its National Council to decide on whether or not to attend parliamentary sessions, a lawmaker from the party said. Another said their party will become the opposition if the referendum is held.
After being shut down for two years, the Kurdistan Region’s parliament was reactivated on September 15. Factions of Gorran, Komal, the Turkmen Front, the Islamic Movement, and two Christian MPs boycotted the session.
“Given the current conditions and the speaker personnel who presided over the recent parliamentary meeting, we will not be returning to the meetings, unless the question of the parliament speaker is settled. The question of the parliament speaker retaining his position and our return to the parliament is contingent on the decision that will be made by the National Council,” said Gorran MP Bestun Fayeq.
Rudaw has learned from a high source within Gorran that the majority of the party’s National Assembly members had supported the idea that Yousif Mohammed shouldn’t return to parliament as speaker and Gorran should become the opposition, with its ministers resigning from the current coalition government.
“The option of becoming the opposition is very strong. Gorran is closely watching the regional and international equations and changes. We believe that this cabinet has no basis to continue. Gorran is against the extension of the term of the Kurdistan Region’s three presidential positions for two years,” Karwan Hashim, a member of Gorran’s National Council, told Rudaw.
“If the referendum is held, which we think is highly unlikely it will be held, we will become the opposition. New conditions will, however, emerge if it is not held. That is why we don’t want to rush decisions. Instead, we are watching the situation,” a high Gorran official, who didn’t want to be mentioned by name, told Rudaw.
The Islamic Group (Komal) and Gorran have shared the same stance with respect to the question of the referendum and the reactivation of the parliament.
Komal will not attend future parliamentary sessions if Yousif and his parliamentary speaker staff do not return to preside over the legislature. Until their demands are met, “We hope that more meetings are not held so that problems do not increase,” Marwan Galali, head of Komal’s parliamentary faction, told Rudaw.
Regarding their return to the parliament, Galali said: “If the meetings are held this way by the agreement of two parties, we will not be taking part in them.”
Komal has the position of the parliament secretary, but didn’t participate in the reactivation of the parliament. In a pre-arranged agreement between the KDP and PUK, the head of the PUK faction in Kurdistan’s parliament Begard Talabani was assigned to be the parliament’s secretary in the first session held on September 15.
The head of the Komal faction said the PUK had informed them about this.
The PUK and KDP both hope Gorran and Komal will return to subsequent parliamentary sessions.
“We are waiting for Gorran and Komal. Begard Talabani was assigned to be the parliament secretary only for one meeting. We hope the speaker staff returns,” Dler Mawati, deputy head of the PUK faction, told Rudaw.
“The parliament was not reactivated to hold only one meeting. Rather, it should fulfill its duties as a monitoring and legislative establishment. We tried a lot to reactivate the parliament through agreement and approval of all the parties. But other parties didn’t attend,” Omed Khoshnaw, head of the KDP faction, told Rudaw.
“The speaker staff of the parliament including the speaker and secretary can fulfill their duties. But we will elect a new speaker staff if Gorran and Komal deliver their final say on whether or not they want to return to the parliament,” Khoshnaw added.
Relevant committees of the parliament met on Monday to address the Region’s salary system in preparation for parliament’s next sitting.
But Haji Karwan, a memebr of the parliament from the Kurdistan Islamic Union, said legal problems remain.
“There is a legal hurdle here and that is whether the parliament should remove the reduced-salary system by law or recommendation. Passing a law has more legal force, but the law needs to be signed by the president of the Kurdistan Region, whose position is still problematic. It doesn’t need the signature of the president if it is done through recommendation which doesn’t have the effect the law has and it doesn’t commit the government to abide by it.”