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A new government under a new prime minister

By Hemen Abdulla 3/12/2018
After a long wait the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) has finally decided what it wants the next four years of governance in the Kurdistan Region to look like. The KDP is now ready to reactivate the presidency and have Nechirvan Barzani as president. And forming a new government will be assigned to Masrour Barzani. The dice has been rolled and Nechirvan will wield the highest executive power in the Region for the next four years. As former president and KDP leader Masoud Barzani said at a press conference last week, the Kurdistan Region will have its own constitution, too.

Now that the picture is a little clearer two questions are to be asked. Firstly, which of the KDP’s partners are going to be in the next government? Secondly, how would the KDP fulfill its plan for “a strong Kurdistan Region” under a new prime minister?

The answer to the first question depends on whether or not the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Change Movement (Gorran) will accept the posts they are offered in the new government.

A source close to the PUK-KDP negotiations recently said the PUK has considered handing the vice presidency to Gorran and for the PUK to keep the position of deputy prime minister. The current deputy prime minister, Qubad Talabani, does not feature in the PUK plan and it is said that former Sulaimani governor Hakim Qadir is to occupy the post.

The PUK’s argument for this is that since the KDP has a new candidate for prime minister, they too want to have a new candidate from a security background who can therefore gel better with the new prime minister.

If the PUK manages to steer things its way then it might nominate Qubad for the speaker of parliament and have KDP's Hemin Hawrami as his deputy. These two ran as heads of their party lists in the September election and are now both members of parliament.

However, it is not clear what share or official position the Kosrat Rasul family would take in this scenario. Sources close to Rasul speak of his son Darbaz Kosrat as possible deputy prime minister. PUK factions have a vested interest in the government as they could use this influence in their party’s upcoming convention.

As regards the second question, the KDP is giving its government a new face and fresh blood in the form of Masrour, while making Nechirvan president means using his skills and experience to build “a strong Kurdistan Region”. This is not only good for the KDP and its future allies but also a great chance for the Kurdistan Region further opening up to the outside world.

Meanwhile we have to keep in mind that building a strong Kurdistan cannot be done through merely changing faces or government positions. It requires big and daring steps.

A very successful Kurdish engineer in Sweden was telling me recently of his project in Africa where he turns solar energy into power and plans for undersea cables, which he said were laughed at by people in the beginning, but were bravely and successfully fulfilled by European leaders.

In the Kurdistan Region we have the a similar example, where the KDP’s plans for oil pipelines were deemed far-fetched, yet Nechirvan’s daring move paid off, putting the Kurdistan Region on the world energy map. This helped in the survival of the Kurdistan Region after the events of October 16 following last year’s independence referendum.

The next stage requires equally daring steps that would, alongside the oil sector, advance a technology sector and build a non-oil economy.

Hemen Abdullah is the host of Rudaw’s Big Story program and former head of the network’s newsgathering.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rudaw.


Hopfrog | 3/12/2018
"it is not clear what share or official position the Kosrat Rasul family would take in this scenario" Or... the KRG could try allocating political positions on the basis of expertise and competence rather than whose great great grandson you are. Crazy idea, of course.
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