Talabani’s Wife Denies Delaying PUK Convention, Says She Favors Change

By RUDAW – 13.2.2014 – SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region – Hero Ibrahim Ahmed, the wife of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s ailing and absent leader Jalal Talabani, denied in her party newspaper that she was delaying a PUK convention to decide on new leaders.In an article in Kurdistani Nwe, she said she welcomed present frictions inside the party because they would drive much needed change. But she stressed that the PUK needs a “systematic change, not something based on personal moods.”

“Differences within the PUK are evidence that the PUK is alive and I am for such differences,” she wrote. “But I am against using the differences to take up position against each other, spreading hate and trying to erase one another.”

In her article Ahmed said that in the past few months a lot has been said and written about what is going on inside the PUK, but that “she welcomes all criticism and suggestions because they are all said in the benefit of the PUK.” She wrote that Talabani, who has been in Germany since a stroke more than a year ago, founded the PUK on the principle of freedom of opinion and criticism and that the party will continue on that path.

“We have to agree that we cannot all think alike,” she said, referring to her colleagues in the leadership.In Talabani’s absence and following parliamentary elections in September in which the PUK lost its place as Kurdistan’s second-largest party, some PUK leaders have called for changes through a convention. Chief among them are Talabani’s own two deputies, Barham Salih and Kosrat Rasul Ali. They have recently blamed Ahmed for standing in the way of reforms and a party reshuffle, and for holding up a convention that was due on January 31.

But in her article, Ahmed said that she favors a convention, and denied being the cause of the delay. “I respect the demand of most PUK leaders and members for a convention and setting a date,” she wrote.  “I’m not for not holding a convention and I haven’t tried to postpone it. I haven’t said that this leadership is eternal.”

She added that she believes that a convention can put PUK leaders in the positions they deserve. “I have told our friends, let the convention decide who deserves a post, not factionalism,” she explained. “Let the convention decide which direction the PUK takes and which policies to pursue.” Despite her apparent differences with other PUK leaders, Ahmed agreed that the party can renew and strengthen itself through a reshuffle.

“I think that change within the party organs will lead to the renewal of the party, especially for a party such as the PUK that is going through sensitive times,” she wrote. “But any change should be based on standards, as well as systematic and institutional evaluations.” Ahmed ended her article on a note about Iraq’s upcoming parliamentary elections in April, which some earlier reports had suggested was the most likely reason for cancelling the party’s convention. “We are now standing before big responsibilities,” she wrote. “Putting in order the PUK house and getting ready for the elections.” – See more at: http://rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/12022014#sthash.glXcRYnf.dpuf