Disgruntled PUK Chiefs Stay Away From Party Meetings, Hold Separate Talks


By RUDAW 23.2.2014 – SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region – The political bureau of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) met twice last week to discuss the party’s latest internal disputes, but without the two deputy chiefs who are in serious agreement with the other leaders.

The meetings took place on two separate days in PUK’s stronghold of Sulaimani, according to an official statement. It said that the main focus of the meeting was PUK’s preparations for the coming Iraqi elections in April and the post of the party’s two deputy chiefs. The deputies, Barham Salih and Kosrat Rasul Ali, were not at the meeting.

The PUK statement made no mention of the internal disputes. It only listed other national issues that were discussed, such as “the elections, formation of the Kurdish government and the threat of terrorism to the Kurdistan Region and the rest of Iraq.”

It said that the leaders had approved their party’s election commission on their campaign agenda, which would include “raising people’s living standards, social insurance and unemployment benefits.”

The PUK leaders at the meeting also said they would do their best to ensure that a new government is formed. On Saturday, it was reported that the PUK and other parties had agreed on all the major posts, disagreement over which was blamed for part of the delay in forming a government five months after the Kurdish elections. According to the agreements, the interior ministry will reportedly go to the Change Movement (Gorran) while the Peshmarga and Finance ministries will be headed by the PUK.

Meanwhile, the statement said that the PUK appreciates the criticism and recommendations of its members for party reform.

“We assure PUK members and supporters that we will spare no effort to solve our internal issues,” read the statement. “Finding a solution is a historic responsibility and all should act responsibly to reach a successful outcome for all.”

In a separate move Salih and Ali, who stayed away from the Sulaimani meetings, held their own talks with some senior PUK leaders in Erbil to explain their views on the party’s internal disputes since the dismal results of the September 21 elections. “Kosrat Rasul and Barham Salih spoke openly of PUK’s internal problems and they say they have submitted a proposal to the political bureau and are awaiting a response,” one PUK official who attended the Erbil meeting told Rudaw. He said that Qubad Talabani, the son of ailing and absent PUK leader Jalal Talabani, chose to attend the Erbil meeting. The official added that Qubad’s attendance was to give weight to the views of the two deputy chiefs, who are adamant about reform and change within the party.

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