PUK: New Cabinet Positions Still ‘Under Discussion’

By RUDAW 27-2-2014 – With more than five months after the Kurdistan Region’s legislative elections, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) said that discussions among the main parties are still ongoing, but “about to be resolved.” Hakim Qadir, executive head of the party’s political bureau, confirmed in an interview with Rudaw that the PUK is asking for the post of deputy prime minister along with two important ministries and several others. “These are all under discussion, but as of now the posts have not been determined yet.” Here is an edited transcript of his interview:

Rudaw: PUK’s two deputy chiefs, Barham Salih and Kosrat Rasul Ali, demand that the party hold a convention soon. Do you think that is possible?

Hakim Qadir: The decision to hold a convention was made in the fourth PUK convention. Its delay is merely due to the upcoming elections and within the next few months we will hold one. Deciding on the date is not a difficult task. It is rather how a convention would affect and help to renew PUK, its future, present, status.

Rudaw: After the efforts of Iran and President Massoud Barzani, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki also indicated that he was willing to support the PUK.

Hakim Qadir: In general we thank all parties who have expressed their friendly support and sympathy.

Rudaw: You were in charge of some committees assigned to prepare the ground for the PUK convention.  Are those committees still working toward that end?

Hakim Qadir: In the history of the PUK there haven’t been such committees to form only a few months ahead of the convention. They have done a lot and are tired. They have high regard for their work and most have their projects ready for the convention. Only the committee of (discipline and program) has not finished its work, though it has made good progress. However, this particular committee needs more discussion and participation.

This committee is open and has not been working only for the friends, members and supporters of the PUK. Everyone can participate and express their view and enrich the project with their insight. That is why it will be like all members are participating in the convention and contributing directly to the discussions and projects. Previously such committees would be elected during the convention, but now they are appointed prior to the convention. All the committees consist of expert, dedicated, faithful and able individuals.

Rudaw: Do you have any good news for PUK supporters about a possible solution to the party’s internal disputes?

Hakim Qadir: Yes, we will have good news. We do have committees and discussions and meetings are ongoing.  We are optimistic about preserving the PUK and upholding the unity of the party.

Rudaw: Following a meeting with President Barzani, you said there was a positive outcome, but the issues within your party still seem to persist.

Hakim Qadir: Our talks with Massoud Barzani were important, necessary and steadfast. We discussed several sensitive and important topics regarding the current situation of Iraq, disputed territories, political process and the government in the Kurdistan Region. We both, as KDP and PUK, expressed our views, as it was the center of the discussions in order to preserve the national achievements and its advancement. In our discussions Barzani expressed his solidarity and support for the current phase PUK is experiencing.

Rudaw: Where do the talks on forming the cabinet stand now?

Hakim Qadir: Discussions are still ongoing on forming the new government. In the next few days, as the negotiating team or committee, we will resume the talks.  Our discussions about the political agenda, plans, and leadership posts are about to be resolved. The government cabinet quota, the ministries, and their future functions need to be discussed in the future, about which we are optimistic.

Rudaw: The KDP has come up with a new roadmap that gives the speaker of parliament and three ministries to your party. Will you agree to it?

Hakim Qadir: A roadmap by the KDP or any other party is only something for discussions. No party reserves the right to make such decisions unilaterally. Regarding the head of parliament, it’s an important post just like other posts. We are asking for the post of deputy prime minister along with two important ministries and few others. These are all under discussion, but as of now the posts have not been determined yet. However, it’s important that the discussions are conducted under the spirit of national principles in order to form the government as soon as possible.

Rudaw: It is said that the PUK has demanded that the position of vice president is given to someone from Sulaimani. Hakim Qadir: We only want the vice presidency or any other post to be used for serving the citizens of the Kurdistan Region. Anyone who can handle a post or serve properly is important and necessary. Is the post based on a specific region or area? It’s only natural to be given to a PUK member, even if that person is from Sulaimani. There are many important positions and posts that are not run by individuals from Sulaimani. I consider myself representative of all cadres, members, supporters and friends of the PUK. I believe that considering people from Sulaimani region at this stage is good and necessary.   In my life and in political work and career I have never believed in regionalism and in the meantime never believed in marginalizing a particular region. A successful political party must view all cities and regions equally and not favor the right of any region at the expense of another. This view will help the nation on the principal of a country for all.

– See more at: http://rudaw.net/english/interview/27022014#sthash.ZGpNSeYz.dpuf