Mustafa Chawrash, PUK’s leadership council member, Sulaimani, Iraqi Kurdistan. Photo: NRT

SULAIMANI, Iraq’s Kurdistan region,— Mustafa Chawrash, who supervises the meetings of the leadership council of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan PUK, affirmed that no one has been elected as co-president of the Patriotic Union.

In a press conference held on Tuesday, Mustafa Chawrash,the council’s interim head, said that the leadership council voted on the party’s joint presidency system and that no one was elected to assume the position.

A number of Kurdish media falsely reported that the leadership council elected each of Lahur Sheikh Jangi Talabani and Bafel Talabani as the co-presidents of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

The leadership council has resumed its meeting on Tuesday on completing the vote on the articles of the internal control system of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

Pro-KDP Rudw media reported on Tuesday that two sources revealed that Lahur and Bafel were elected co-leaders of the PUK by the party’s General Leadership Council.

On December 21, 2019 following years of delay, the PUK held a contentious party congress, the first since the death of beloved party founder Mam Jalal in 2017.

Lahur and Bafel received the two highest vote totals during the recent PUK party congress in December 2019.

Party rivalries and a host of other issues had prevented the congress from taking place.

The PUK congress also voted to form the Supreme Political Council, which is headed by Kosrat Rasul Ali, the party’s former acting leader.

The Supreme Political Council performs a mostly advisory role, but has veto power over certain decisions and acts as the PUK’s official representation.

Lahur is the incumbent head of the PUK’s counterterrorism forces and is the nephew of Jalal Talabani, who served as Iraq’s president from 2005 to 2014. Bafel is the late president’s son.

Some factions had hoped to prevent the party becoming a family dynasty.

The PUK was founded in 1975 after breaking away from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). The two parties fought a long civil war in the 1990s before agreeing to share power in a united administration. They however both retain their own Peshmerga units and geographical areas of influence.