PUK leadership ‘deceives’ members over KDP

8.6.2013 – Kurdistan Tribune – With presidential and parliamentary elections looming, the PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) has recently sought to distance itself from south Kurdistan’s other ruling party, the KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party), on two key issues.

It has claimed to be opposed to Masud Barzani running for a third presidential term, because the law limits him to two terms in office. It has also publicly opposed Barzani’s proposal to put the existing constitution to a referendum, backing the opposition’s argument that the parliament should first debate it and then put a revised version of the constitution to a public vote. Yesterday, however, KDP politburo member Jaffar Emniki told Rudaw TV that, despite what it says in public, the PUK is really in agreement with the KDP on both issues.

PUK politburo member Azad Jundiani quickly responded by claiming that Emniki had not “explained himself properly”. Yet Jundiani himself added: “We believe that President Barzani will be a necessity to lead the current state”. Sbeiy argues that the PUK leadership has been deceiving rank and file members who want their party to break with the KDP.  And the public suspects that several PUK politburo members are extremely close to the KDP, with some having business interests to protect in the KDP’s Erbil heartland. PUK leaders should come clean and issue an unequivocal statement on where they really stand.