The post of Iraqi president has been held by a Kurd since 2005. File photo: Iraqi parliament
PARIS, France – Fuad Hussein, chief of staff to the Kurdistan Region presidency, predicts Kurds will lose 13-14 seats in the Iraqi parliamentary elections as a result of losing the disputed areas.
Hussein, however, also predicts Kurds will once again take the post of Iraqi president, as has been the case since 2005.
After taking part in a conference on the role of Kurds following the defeat of ISIS, Hussein told Rudaw that the takeover of the disputed areas by Baghdad since October 16 will considerably limit Kurdish parties’ movements and campaigns for election.
“Problems exist in the disputed areas which mean the Kurdistan political parties cannot easily launch their campaigns and naturally the elections will be controlled by some people,” Hussein told Rudaw, referring to Iraqi forces who have taken control of Kirkuk and other disputed areas.
“Thus I predict Kurds will lose a number of seats in the disputed areas, roughly 13 or 14 seats,” he said.
Kurdish political parties currently hold 63 seats in Baghdad, he added.
Of this number, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) holds the most – 25 seats. It is followed by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), which holds 21. The remaining seats are held by other Kurdish parties.
Although it will be damaging for Kurds, “the Shiite parties also are not united as they run on different lists,” said Hussein.
“This means Kurds, as a bloc [in parliament], will remain a giant force. Even if they secure 50 seats, they are still influential.”
“It may become the second or third biggest side in the Iraqi parliament,” he claimed.
Forging alliances for the formation of the government is what really matters, he said, stressing that Kurds cannot be excluded.
“It is very unlikely for a government to be established without Kurds involved,” he said. “It will not become a perfect government.”
“If Kurds become united in Baghdad, they will become an influential bloc,” he added.
Commenting on the makeup of the top three jobs, Hussein said it has become an established custom that Sunnis get the parliamentary speaker, Shiites the office of prime minister, and Kurds the presidency.
“I believe this system will remain as such,” he predicted.
The post of the president has been held by Kurds, and members of the PUK, since 2005.
In April 2005, the late PUK leader Jalal Talabani became president. In 2010 he was re-elected for a second term, serving until he fell ill in December 2012. The current president, Fuad Masum, assumed the position in 2014.