Forming a new Kurdistan Regional Government – what government?

By Mufid Abdulla: 24-1-2014 – Kurdistan Tribune – The mood of the people is pretty grim and it’s easy to see why: it is four months since the parliamentary election on 21st September 2013 and the five biggest parties are still struggling to reach an agreement. Politically it has been one of the most depressing periods I can remember.

The parties are showing a scary lack of responsibility by taking this small country towards the edge of the abyss. Shortages of oil and fuel are apparent on the streets of Suli and Dhok. There is also a shortage of electricity in Suli city for seven hours every day. The main concern of the Barzani party leadership is about oil and yet the people cannot get oil – this is very worrying.

An estate agent operating in the cities of Suli and Erbil told me that the level of sales transactions is starting to slow down because people are unsure about what is going to happen. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) leaders don’t want to relinquish their privileges and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leaders don’t want to upset the PUK for reasons unknown, because there is so much secrecy surrounding the strategic relationship between these two parties. The Gorran movement doesn’t want to appear humiliated by making too many concessions, and so we are in the middle of nowhere in terms of forming the government.

Despite the protests and power cuts and petrol queues our president is away chairing a meeting in Geneva.

Just a few weeks ago Nawshirwan Mustafa and the Barzanis seemed to be – metaphorically, if not literally – arm in arm but still there has been no agreement. It seems to me that they will eventually form the weakest of cabinets just to keep everyone happy.

To understand how things have reached this point, we must remember that, in previous cabinets, the KDP and PUK divided all the posts 50/50 between themselves but now Gorran has entered the equation making it almost insoluble. I cannot avoid commenting on the incompetence of politicians in the south of Kurdistan – they have not learned the basics of leadership and issue management at a national level. How have things been allowed to reach this stage? This is not what modern politics is about or how modern government is meant to work.I wonder if the barrier to forming the government is because the opposition would change from parties of protest into parties of government. This long delay proves to me they will not become effective parties of government and instead we will have a weak government that includes opposition parties.