Kurdistan Regional Government: under construction

By Momen Zellmi: Kurdistan Tribune – 16-12-2013 – The Kurdistan Region parliamentary elections took place on 21st September 2013. According to the Iraqi High Electoral Commission, there were 366 female and 736 male candidates, a total of 2,653,743 people were eligible to vote in the three provinces of Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Dohuk and 74% of them did so. Three months on, there are still talks about the make-up of the next government although it is now clearer how the new cabinet might be structured.

The Iraqi Independent High Electoral Committee announced the final results at a press conference on 2nd October: the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) got 38 seats, Change Movement (Gorran) 24 seats, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) 18 seats, Islamic Union of Kurdistan (KIU) 10 seats, Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG) six seats, Islamic Movement (IMK) one seat, Third Direction List one seat, Kurdistan Communist Party one seat; and the Minorities in Kurdistan got five seats for Turkmen, five for Christians and one  for Armen.

Ahead of the second round of talks on forming a new cabinet, political groups in the Kurdistan Region have submitted their proposed lists for government posts to the negotiation team of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). The KDP has tasked the ex-prime minster of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Nechirvan Barzani, to form a  broad-based coalition government. Barzani has been meeting with leaders of all the political parties in Sulaimani and Erbil to invite them to join his cabinet.

Nechirvan Barzani held his meetings in Sulaimaniyah with the PUK and Gorran, and in Erbil with the KIG and KIU and after each meeting he expressed his optimism about progress towards forming the cabinet.

Nawshirwan Mustafa, the General Coordinator of the Movement for Change, has outlined Gorran’s vision for a new national cabinet with a real partnership of all of the parties, especially between three parties that were in opposition (Gorran, KIG and KIU) and the two parties that were in government (KDP and PUK).

The KIG has announced that: ”We are for a real partnership and the points system for all of the posts in Kurdistan  (Prime Minister and his deputy, Head of Parliament and his deputy and secretary of parliament and all of the ministers).”

Tofeq Kareem, member of the KIG committee for negotiation with the KDP, added: “In our last meeting with the KDP on 10th December, we placed emphasis on the protocol and agenda of the KRG, which is important for our next four years in this region”.

The most important factor which has created great problems in the formation of this cabinet is the PUK. In the September elections the PUK lost 11 seats and dropped to third place in parliament, and yet it has asked the KDP to maintain their partnership in government, like in the past. This would mean the KDP sticking to the Strategic Agreement signed between the KDP and PUK in 2007, according to which both parties agree to rotate the premiership every two years. Since the September vote, however, that clause of the agreement may have lost its glamour.

The PUK politburo has emphasized more than once that the strategic relationship must be maintained. The KDP has yet to respond to this demand which of course complicates the process of forming the new cabinet.

A senior source within the KDP has revealed to KT that the cabinet posts could be divided between the parties as follows:

KDP: Prime Minister and Vice- President of Parliament and 6 ministries,

Gorran: Deputy of Prime minister and four ministries,

PUK: President of Parliament and three ministries

KIU: Secretary of parliament and two ministries, KIG: Two ministries.

According to this source, there is consideration of allocating the posts as follows:


 Prime Minster of KRG: KDP

Deputy Prime Minster of KRG: Gorran Movement

President of Parliament: PUK

Vice President of Parliament: KDP

Secretary of Parliament: Islamic Union



Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources: KDP

Minister of Culture and Youth: PUK

Minister of Education: KDP

Minister of Electricity: KIU

Minister of Endowment & Religious Affairs: KDP

Minister of Finance & the Economy​: KDP

Minister of Health: Gorran

Minister of Higher Education & Scientific Research: Gorran

Minister of Housing and Reconstruction: KIU

Minister of Justice: KIG

Minister for the Interior: Gorran

Minister of Labour and Social Affairs: PUK

Minister of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs: KDP

Minister of Municipalities and Tourism: KIG

Minister of Natural Resources: KDP

Minister of Peshmerga Affairs: PUK

Minister of Planning: Gorran

Minister of Trade and Industry: Others

Minister of Transport and Communications: Others

Other senior officials with ministerial rank:


Chief of Staff, Kurdistan Region Presidency: KDP

President, Divan of the Council of Ministers: Communist Party

Secretary of the Cabinet: Socialist Party

Head of Foreign Relations: KDP                               ​

Chairman of the Investment Board: IMK

Ministry of Parliament Affairs: Third Direction List

Momen Zellmi is a Kurdish Journalist