MESOP NEWS : DOWNGOING KURDISTAN – Kurdistan Iraq : KIU now 3rd party to discuss withdrawing from KRG coalition


By Rudaw 23 Dec 2017 – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Following two of main parties withdrawal from the coalition Kurdistan Regional Government, the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) is scheduled to determine whether it will stay in the government until early-2018 elections.

The Islamic party with 10 seats is one of the five parties who formed the so-called broad-based coalition government following the 2013 parliamentary elections.Gorran and the smaller Islamic Group (Komal) on Wednesday announced they would withdraw from the KRG after they had lost “hope” for the other parties to bring about reform or fight corruption.The KIU has conducted a survey among its members that asked them to indicate whether or not they should stay in the government. The result of the survey will be presented to the party’s executive body today. Sources told Rudaw that it indicates about 70 percent of voters favour withdrawing.

The party, however, is known to have taken a line that is close to the two main ruling parties in the past few years, namely with the powerful Kurdistan Democratic Party of Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan of Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani.The KIU, among other issues, supported the Kurdish vote on independence held on September 25 that triggered the Iraqi military incursion into the disputed or Kurdistani areas in mid-October such as the oil-rich Kirkuk, halving KRG’s revenues compared to September.KIU ministers will attend a meeting today including the acting Minister for Transportation whose duty also concerns the issue of the Kurdistan’s airports that continue to suffer from the Iraqi-imposed ban on commercial international flights.

Dara Sekanyani, a senior KIU official, told Rudaw on Wednesday that the party had already called for the formation of a “transitional government” to take care of the pressing issues such as the financial crisis until elections are held.KIU has an alliance agreement with Komal, both being Islamic parties. But their alliance has suffered when the two sides engaged in a heated debate through their media outlets and on social media. The KIU accused some Komal leaders, including its leader Ali Bapir, of having received a high pension salary from the government even though he never held a public office. Komal responded that their leader received the salary “lawfully” as he was a Peshmerga who fought against the Iraqi regime in 1980s.

The KIU would take its own decision independent of other parties, Sekanyani said, “because every party is free.”He said they respect the decision taken by both Gorran and Komal, and that they expect the same attitude from these two parties.KIU is a moderate Islamic party whose founding principle is based on non-violent struggle. It was formed when the Kurdistan Region entered into a bloody civil war in 1994. It called on Kurdish parties to stop fighting and instead seek a path of dialogue to resolve their differences.

The KIU official said they now offer the same advice to the political parties as some parts of the Kurdistan Region is going through violent protests which killed at least two people and injured about 300 more.

“The people of Kurdistan should know that the KIU will take a decision that best serves the interests of the political process, and the governances of the Kurdistan region, even if that means damaging the party’s interests, as we often times did,” Sekanyani said.

Angry protesters set ablaze the offices of the five major parties and that of government in the provinces of Sulaimani and Halabja on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The KIU offices were no exception.Lack of trust between political parties, and a lack of trust between the people and the authorities are the main problems facing the Kurdistan Region, the KIU official added.PM Barzani said on Thursday that he believes no political party, including Gorran and Komal, have a good reason to withdraw the coalition government when the elections are around within three months. He said those parties who take this path, would do so for “political” gains.A Gorran minister is expected to meet with the Secretary of KRG’s Council of Ministers Amanj Rahim in the coming days to hand over the resignation letter of Gorran ministers.

PM Barzani had already said that he “respects” the Komal and Gorran decision, indicating that he accepts the resignation letters once presented.He also said that the current cabinet will remain in place until the elections early in 2018, after he said they have rejected the two parties’ demand for an interim government.Gorran with 24 seats, KIU with 10 seats, and Komal with 6 seats entered the KDP-dominated coalition government after the 2013 elections following spending 2009-2013 as official opposition parties. Anti-government protests which turned violent on Tuesday call for the full payment of delayed or reduced salaries, a fight against widespread corruption, and better basic services such as electricity. The KRG maintains that the loss of oil-fields in Kirkuk, and the continued budget cut by the Iraqi government since early-2014 means they have failed to pay the state salary in full or on time.