ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Following the removal of four ministers on his Cabinet from the Change Movement (Gorran), Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani designated existing members of the Cabinet Tuesday to fill the posts on a temporary basis.
Four ministerial posts that belonged to Gorran—finance, religious affairs, Peshmerga, investment and trade—were sacked by Barzani earlier in October. The move followed accusations by Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) that Gorran had orchestrated protests in and around Sulaimani province over the refusal of Kurdistan region president Masoud Barzani—Nechirvan’s uncle—to step down at the end of his term and hold elections in August, and the delayed salaries of public sector workers.
Karim Shingali as minister of Peshmerga , Pshtiwan Sadiq as minister of religious affairs , Ali Sndi as minister of trade, Nuri Osman as head of the investment board and Rabar Sdiq as minister of finance were the successors to the Cabinet slots fired by Barzani and filled Tuesday.
The Gorran Movement expressed its displeasure to the Barzani move by releasing a statement decrying the prime minister’s actions.
"The filling of ministries without the parliament's consultation is not legitimate and the KDP is solving problems with problems. It affects the Kurdistan region's reputation in terms of democracy," read the Gorran statement.
"The elimination of a minister is in the hands of the parliament, not KDP's Politburo," Mohammed Haji, a Gorran official, also told Rudaw Monday
Barzani, in addition to his prime minister duties, is is also deputy president of the KDP.
The ousted ministries had been held by members of the Gorran Movement, whose participation in the coalition government emerged after inconclusive elections in 2013.
Angry protesters stormed and torched several offices of the ruling KDP across the Sulaimani province in early October in a series of violent demonstrations that sent shockwaves through the region.
On October 10 the KDP announced it would no longer recognize Gorran member and Parliament Speaker Youssef Muhammad, whom the KDP accuses of biased rulings.
"The parliament speaker is not the property of Gorran alone, but the whole of Kurdistan, because he is the speaker of the Kurdistan parliament," Haji told Rudaw.
Ayad Allawi, the president of the Iraqi National Coalition faction in the Iraqi parliament and former Iraqi Prime Minister, has reportedly called on Masoud Barzani to allow him to mediate in the Gorran-KDP dispute, and Barzani has welcomed the idea, according to a senior Kurdistan Islamic League member, who spoke to Rudaw Saturday on condition of anonymity, but the KDP later dismissed the claim. In a statement issued by the KDP politburo Monday, the party rejected claims it had been asked by any party to allow outside mediation over a KDP-Gorran reconciliation.
However, a KDP official in Erbil told Rudaw Monday that if Gorran reviewed its position and politics his party would be willing to resume negotiations.
"We do not reject negotiations with any party, and we need the help of all parties," said Ali Hussein, the head of the KDP Second Branch office in Erbil. "We had a political agreement with Gorran, but the way they behaved resulted in the unleashing of these objectionable incidents."
Hussein added that coexistence is needed because "we all live in this country and we should work together and negotiate together."