Kurdish National Council Prepares for Second Convention

18/10/2012 RUDAW –  By HEMIN KHOSHNAW – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—The Kurdish National Council (KNC) is expected to hold its second convention in Qamishi, Syria next month. The convention will discuss the issue of party representation in the council. A committee has been established to make preparations.

The KNC was founded October 2011 and embraces 16 Kurdish political parties with 333 representatives.  Ismail Hama, secretary general of the Kurdish Union Party and former head of the council, said that the committee’s task is to plan out specifics of holding the convention, including the number of representatives that can attend from each party.  Hama, a member of the committee, told Rudaw that they will discuss several issues regarding the council’s shortcomings.

“The main problem of the council during the past year was its method of making decisions and implementing them,” he said, adding that the balance in the number of party representatives and their votes in making decisions was another issue.

Hama hopes that the second convention will be able solve this problem. “The number of party representatives must vary according to their size and popularity,” he said. “The big parties must be distinguished from the small ones.”

Hama said that he has presented a plan on how to tackle this issue.  A few parties inside the council have gone through divisions. Hama said that the reason behind these divisions is that the council has been encouraging pluralism. “The convention must encourage the political parties to unite rather than divide,” he said. Khalil Ibrahim, the deputy secretary of the Kurdish Union Party, believes that the only way for the convention to succeed is for the council to let go of the policy that everyone must be satisfied. Ibrahim told Rudaw, “The convention must find a way to shrink the number of the political parties in the council and force them to unite.” Ibrahim admitted that the committee’s task wouldn’t be easy, and suggested that the convention include independent figures so that the council can benefit from their abilities and ideas.

“To this day, the committee has not yet agreed on our approach,” Ibrahim said. “Deciding on a party’s size according to its popularity is a difficult task. It may cause further disputes and finally lead to the suspension of the convention.”

Along with the KNC, there is also the Kurdish National Council in Western Kurdistan, established by the Democratic Union Party (PYD).After many disagreements between the two councils over the Kurdish issues in Syria, the two sides signed an agreement in Erbil this past summer after mediation from the Kurdistan Region’s president. As a result, a supreme council was established to run the administrative affairs in Kurdish areas of Syria.

Shalal Gado, a senior official of the Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria and a member of the KNC, believes it would be better to postpone the convention.

He told Rudaw, “The issue for Syrian Kurds is not holding a convention. They should work toward unification.”  Gado admitted that the members of the KNC have disagreements over the number of party representatives and nominating independent figures.  He believes the best way to choose independent figures is to let the syndicates and civil organizations appoint representatives.In regards to determining the size of the political parties inside the council, Gado said, “An election is the only practical way to determine the size and popularity of a political party.” Gado thinks that the number of party representatives in the council will stay the same.