PUK headquarters in Erbil File photo: Rudaw TV
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)
wants to become a "genuine partner" with the Kurdistan Democratic
Party (KDP) in the next government with the former saying it has delivered its
concerns to the latter that it does not accept to be dealt with in accordance
with its seats.
"We have told the KDP that, if we are not dealt with as
a second party, we will not take part in the government," said a PUK Leadership Council member who
preferred to remain anonymous.
KDP Leadership Council member Aras Haso Mirkhan said on Monday the first party to visit for the government formation will be the PUK.
The PUK emerged from the parliamentary election September 30
election with the second-most seats, 21 – up from 18 in the last parliament
while the KDP increased from 38 to 45.
Once the judicial council approves the election results, the
largest parties will begin talks to assemble the new government.
The PUK has formed a committee for government formation
talks. Omer Fatah, a top politburo member, will lead the PUK team. He said no
agreement has been reached for a mechanism for government formation.
PUK Leadership Council member Adnan Hama Mina said
government formation talks will start soon.
"The PUK is the second largest party and an influential
party in the political landscape and whoever aims to have peace in the next
four years, must bear in mind the PUK's serious involvement in the government,"
The distribution of posts in Baghdad created rifts between
the PUK and KDP after both parties presented separate candidates for top jobs –
none more than the presidency. The PUK's Barham Salih beat out the KDP's choice
of Fuad Hussein in an open vote by Iraqi MPs.
Now that forming the KRG cabinet in Erbil is nearing, both
sides intend to improve relations and work together.
Mina did say his party and the KDP enjoy some common points.
"Our problems with the KDP brothers are not big and we
can reach an agreement," he said.
He added: "KDP and PUK coordination and cooperation
will guarantee security and peace in Kurdistan we expect good talks to begin in
the coming days.”
Since the 1991 uprising, except during the civil war, no
government has been formed without the KDP and PUK. Even during eighth cabinet
— when the Change Movement (Gorran) obtained 24 seats to the PUK’s 18 — the
latter did not accept the post of the deputy prime minister going to Gorran.
The PUK understands that the KDP does not want to out the
Change Movement in the new cabinet.
Many senior PUK members do not want their party accept the
speaker of the parliament post, in place of deputy speaker going to Gorran.
"The Change Movement has achieved half the PUK seats
and that the PUK must not be given the post of the speaker of parliament and
the deputy premier go to Gorran," said another PUK leader.
The PUK leader described the next four years of parliamentary
work as "decisive and instrumental."
"A set of important laws will be worked on in the next
four years such as the KRG presidency law, reform law, and the Kurdistan
Region's constitution. The KDP possesses many seats and whatever party assumes
the speaker post will face mounting criticism."
In the previous cabinet, the PUK held the posts of deputy
premier, health ministry, reconstruction and housing ministry, martyrs ministry
and culture ministry. The PUK believes if the Change Movement and minorities
take part in the government , they will have less posts.
A Change Movement member told Rudaw that there is call from
many among the party to not take part in the government, but the top leaders
The KDP says it wants all parties involved in the next
government, with each receiving posts reflecting their share of seats.
"In the past, we used to adhere to the strategic
alliances between us and the political parties, particularly the KDP-PUK
strategic alliance agreement," said Ali Hussein, a KDP leadership member.
"But now, we are considering the election shares and the common points
between the KDP and those parties seeking to take part in the government."
The KDP is 11 seats shy of an absolute majority in the
unicameral legislature in Erbil. The previous parliament was largely
ineffective with opposition parties sidelined. As government formation
continues the distribution of ministries will be a focus.
Qubad Talabani of the PUK is the current deputy PM.
Nechirvan Barzani of the KDP is the PM. Talabani received the most votes among
list leaders, while the KDP whose list was headed by Hemin Hawrami received the
most seats as a party.
Updated at 11:58 a.m.