Kurdish Parties in Blame Game Over Government Formation

By HEVIDAR AHMED – RUDAW – 3-1-2014 – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – As they try to finalize agreements with political groups to join the new cabinet following weeks of talks, officials from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) believe that their former ally, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), is a major cause behind the delay. “The cake is not 100 percent in our hands to give you whatever you ask for,” said Dilshad Shahab, member of the KDP’s negotiation committee.

He that the PUK is not the only party in the picture, and that others who won seats in the September legislative polls also have to be taken into account. A third round of negotiations among the political parties was expected to finalize the formation of the next cabinet, but demands by the PUK, which lost its place as the Kurdistan Region’s second-largest party to the Change Movement (Gorran) at the polls, have delayed the process. Shahab said last week that things have reached a point where his party, which came first in the elections, could not wait any longer on the PUK. At a December 24 meeting, the PUK laid down its demands for the formation of the eighth cabinet of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which Rudaw sources said were not accepted by the KDP.

Currently the PUK, the KDP’s ruling partner in the outgoing KRG cabinet, occupies the posts of deputy prime minister, speaker of parliament, ministries of finance and Peshmarga and six other ministries.

Shahab called on the PUK to be “lenient,” so that a new round of negotiations can go ahead. “In order to form a pluralistic government, all political parties should be lenient and realistic in their demands,” Shahab urged. “The KDP is ready to be lenient,” he declared. The PUK’s deputy leader, Barham Salih, said that it was unfair to put all the blame for the delay on his party. “The complaints aren’t fair,” Salih told Rudaw. “The PUK insists on national unity. We have made clear our demands and soon there will be the final talks.” Anwar Sangawi, a politburo member of the Islamic Group of Kurdistan (IGK), expressed his party’s unhappiness and said: “KDP is responsible for forming the next cabinet. If negotiations reach deadlock with a party, the KDP should continue negotiations with other parties.” “Negotiations cannot be on hold because of PUK,” he added. “KDP should talk to PUK very clearly. No party should make unrealistic demands. If they do, KDP must stop them.”

Gorran, which won 24 seats in the 111-place parliament — the second-largest after KDP — blames KDP for the delay.

Ako Hama Karim, a Gorran political analyst, told Rudaw that “Gorran is not responsible for forming the government, KDP is and KDP leads the negotiations.”Regarding the demands put forth by the PUK, Hama Karim said: “It is unreasonable to ask for more posts than you deserve. The demands should match the results of the election.”

Hiwa Mirza Sabir, a leadership member of the Islamic Union of Kurdistan, blames both the KDP and PUK for the lag. “KDP and PUK have to put an end to their Strategic Agreement on sharing power on a 50-50 basis.  It is not the right time to delay the formation of the new government because of a ministry or a post,” Sabir advised.

– See more at: http://rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/03012014#sthash.GCrF2R6y.dpuf