PUK lost in their internal political sandstorm
The PUK is haunted by the endemic corruption it has fostered across the south of Kurdistan. For example, many businessman have being targeted for hostile takeovers by the PUK’s inner circle.
1.2.2014 – Kurdistan Tribune – By Mufid Abdulla : Last October the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) leadership held a short general meeting plenum with the aim of filling the vacuum that caused their defeat in the 21/9/13 election, a result that has hugely disrupted the party.
At that plenum they decided to hold the party conference on 31/1/14 to decide on how to re-assign Jalal Talabani’s responsibilities to other members of the leadership. Political observers concluded early on that the PUK would probably be unable to hold any conference under its existing leadership. The disunity of the leadership is causing the discontent among party members.
There are three main factions struggling for power inside the party. The first is headed by Talabani’s wife, Hero Talabani, who still wields the most muscle even though she resigned from the Suli organization branch after the 21st September election defeat. The second is headed by Kawsrat Rasul, who is repected by the grassroots for his past military role. The third faction is led by former prime minister Barham Salih who is seen as a moderate figure, and the favourite candidate of the West and the PUK’s new generation.
The current leadership cannot unify the party that it has wounded so badly. The crushing defeat of the PUK by Gorran and KDP is due to criminality at the top. For example, many businessman have being targeted for hostile takeovers by the PUK’s inner circle. The PUK is haunted by the endemic corruption it has fostered across the south of Kurdistan. In the pro-democracy demonstration of February 2011, the PUK refused to negotiate with opposition supporters and find a peaceful resolution to the crisis but instead it used force, killing several people and injuring many more.
The PUK is now the main obstacle to forming a new government because they keep asking for the same prestige and privileges that they enjoyed in previous governments – even though they decisively lost the recent election. Over the last seven days of negotiations, the PUK leadership has failed to reach any agreement about its participation in the new government or about fixing a date for their next conference (which they previously decided should open today).
The PUK committed a critical strategic error by not electing a new leadership after Talabani became incapacitated by illness. One PUK central committee member told Lvinpress that the mayhem inside the party has been caused by the current leadership which has refused to stop prioritising its own interests. A representative of the PUK military wing told another local paper that he will become ashamed to be a PUK member. Basically the PUK has evolved into a serious threat to prosperity of the south of Kurdistan. In obstructing the formation of a new government it has embarked on a course that is perilous for the whole country. We will all suffer as a result. Some people are worried that the current PUK leadership might not relinquish power peacefully. The PUK should accept its defeat, get down to the business of helping form a new government and start the repairing its internal damage. Otherwise this party could be lost forever in an internal political sandstorm.