SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region – In light of the passing of the leader of the Change Movement (Gorran) Nawshirwan Mustafa, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani while in Sulaimani urged resolutions for economic and political problems that have plagued the Kurdistan Region.
“We hope the funeral becomes an opportunity for resolving the problems,” said Barzani while visiting the gravesite of Mustafa on Monday to place flowers on the tomb and pay tribute to him.
Barzani hailed Mustafa as an influential leader of the Kurdish struggle, saying he played an important role “in drafting the Iraqi constitutions” after the fall of the Baathist regime in 2003.
Barzani, who is also the deputy head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), also said the deceased Gorran leader “played a crucial role in succeeding the Kurdish uprising” in 1991 against the former Baathist regime.
Mustafa is locally known as the mastermind of the popular Kurdish uprising in 1991 after the first Gulf War against the then Iraqi regime.
The Prime Minister said in the past they had done mutual work with Mustafa on many occasions.
Gorran broke away from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in 2009 and steadily grew larger than its parent party.
The KDP-led government in 2013 entered into negotiations with Gorran and agreed on a broad-based cabinet in which Gorran had hefty positions, including the ministries of finance, Peshmerga, as well as the post of parliament speaker.
Relations between the KDP and Gorran deteriorated in October 2015 when the KDP sacked Gorran ministers and its Speaker of Parliament Yousif Mohammed, who took office after a deal with the KDP following the inconclusive elections in 2013, after days of demonstrations that resulted in the deaths of several KDP members.
The KDP had accused Gorran of orchestrating the riots. Gorran denied the accusations.
The tensions between the two parties had 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.
Barzani recalled that "there were undoubtedly differences," between the two parties but "achievements made between the two sides outnumber rivalries," which deteriorated the two parties’ relations.
For his part, Omer Saed Ali, a senior Gorran member echoed the need for “resolving the issues” in the Kurdistan Region and urged "dialogue" to put an end to the KDP-Gorran rivalries through "brotherhood."
After a long battle with illness, the 73-year-old Mustafa died in Sulaimani on Friday and was buried on Saturday in Zargata Hill in Sulaimani.
Mustafa was a Peshmerga fighter and founding member of the PUK in 1976 by the former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.