From left to right: Ali Hama Salih, Gorran Movement; Sherko Jawdat, Kurdistan Islamic Union; Soran Omar, Islamic Group and Ezzat Sabir, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan pose for a photo in Brussels as they visited the European parliament. Photo: Ali Hama Salih's Facebook page.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Members of the Kurdish parliament from four of the main parties have asked the European parliament to support the reactivation of the Kurdish parliament that has not convened since October 2015.
A letter entitled “support requisition” to the European parliament signed by four members of the of the parties’ blocs in the Kurdistan parliament reads that they represent 58 of 111 seats in Kurdistan parliament.
The four parties are the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the Change, or Gorran Movement, the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU), and the Islamic Group (Komal) — all members of the coalition government of the Kurdistan Regional Government.
The letter says the parliament has "been blocked illegally by [sic.] militaries in October 12, 2015 till now.”
About a year-and-a-half ago, security forces in Erbil, largely under the control of the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), blocked the speaker Yousif Mohammad, a Gorran party member, from returning to the capital where the parliament is located.
The KDP, which holds the posts of Kurdistan Region’s president and prime minister and 38 seats in the parliament, has so far refused to reactivate the parliament.
However, in light of the recent efforts by the two main parties, the KDP and the PUK, to hold the much anticipated independence referendum, the two parties discussed reactivating the now-paralyzed Kurdish parliament in such a way that best serves the process of the Kurdish referendum on independence to be held in 2017, according to a joint statement issued following a high-level meeting between the two parties last Sunday.
Gorran has five ministerial posts, including that of Peshmerga, Finances, Religious Affairs and the Investment Board, all of whom were sacked by the Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani in 2015 after tensions rose high between the KDP and Gorran, mainly because of the term of the Kurdish President Masoud Barzani which was due to expire in 2015.
The ousted ministers were members of the Gorran Movement, whose share in the coalition government emerged after inconclusive elections in 2013.
Gorran Movement was established in 2009 and rapidly rose to power as an opposition group, particularly in Sulaimani province.
The four-party letter also reads that the democratic process has seen major setbacks because of “illegal control of the regional [sic.] precedential position,” referring to the post of the president of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani whose second-term in office expired in August 2015, but was prolonged by a decision from the Region’s administrative court.
The letter added that while they appreciate the support Europe delivers to the Kurdistan Region, it asked for a “transparent” mechanism by which they can check that the funds do not become affected by “high level corruption” in the Kurdistan Region.
The letter raised the issue of delayed salaries of public servants whose salaries went unpaid “for five months” causing difficult life conditions for the estimated 1.4 million public employees.
The letter dated April 26th, 2017 as published by Ali Hama Salih, an MP from Gorran Movement on his Facebook page.