KDP deputy parliament speaker Bashir Haddad speaks to Rudaw in Baghdad on November 7, 2018. Photo: Rudaw
BAGHDAD – The KDP deputy parliament speaker of the Iraqi parliament called for Kurdistani parties in Baghdad to meet on Wednesday to hammer out a united stance on the 2019 budget, ahead of the legislature convening on Thursday.
"This meeting of ours today is aimed at exploring the opinion and stance of the Kurdistani factions on the topic of the budget,” deputy parliament speaker Bashir Haddad told Rudaw.
He hopes the parties will be able to go into parliament on Thursday and “act in union” on the budget issue.
After cutting the Kurdistan Region’s share of the federal budget for four years, Baghdad reinstated it in 2018 but at just over 12 percent, down from the previous 17 percent.
The draft 2019 budget bill, prepared by the outgoing government, again allocated the reduced share to the Kurdistan Region and repeats the same constitutional violations as in 2018, like not giving the Region its legal recognition.
Sunni politicians have also raised concerns that the draft is unfair towards the war-ravaged Sunni provinces.
The parliament on Tuesday voted to form a committee with the government to amend the budget.
"We will try to rally the votes of other people too and obtain their support and backing," said Haddad, adding he has met about this with Arab lawmakers.
Kurds collectively hold 58 seats in the Iraqi parliament, but that is still a slim number when compared to the Shiite parties – if they work together.
If Sunnis and Kurds stand together, they may be able to prevent the budget being passed.
The budget is not on the agenda for Thursday’s session. MPs are scheduled to vote on forming an investigative committee to look into the election of the Babylon governor, and discuss the mass fish deaths and forming parliamentary committees.
Voting on the unfilled ministerial posts is also not scheduled for Thursday.