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PUK Sends Proposals to KDP, Calming Political Climate

The article below originally appeared in Ekurd on November 24th, 2015.

Members of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) submitted a series of proposals to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) on Sunday in an effort to calm the Iraqi Kurdistan’s political climate, weeks after escalations threatened to destabilize the region.

Senior party leaders met at the home of Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani in Erbil and said the meeting had been “positive.”

Joint Statement by PUK & KDP

“Whatever we did against the Change Movement (Gorran) was in reluctance,” Barzani said in a joint statement with the PUK’s politburo head Mala Bakhtiyar. “We were between two options: bad and worse.”

Bakhtiyar said they would not discuss the content of the proposals until they had been presented to the other three major political parties.

Three Proposals for KRG

The first PUK proposal calls for the Kurdistan Parliament to resume its normal functions, according to a trusted source close to the issue told NRT.

The second proposal calls for sacked Gorran cabinet ministers and the Parliament Speaker to be reinstated. The third asks for five-party talks on the presidency issue to resume.

Meanwhile, Gorran spokesman Shoresh Haji told NRT that his party has no information about the three proposals presented to the KDP.

“Gorran will resume talks after the Parliament Speaker and ministers return to their positions,” Haji said. “We won’t accept preconditions from anyone, and we will resume talks after the situation is calm.”

Political Crisis

The crisis erupted after Massoud Barzani, whose term as Kurdistan President ended on August 20, 2015 but refused to step down, and continues to function as leader. According to the law, Barzani cannot run for presidency anymore.

Kurdistan Parliament Speaker Yusuf Mohammad said earlier “extending Barzani term is against the laws in Kurdistan. Law No. 19 passed in 2013 …and cannot be extended”

The KDP party insists to extend his mandate in the negotiations with the four main Kurdish parties in the past months.

Tensions between two of the region’s main parties, KDP and Gorran, reached a high on Oct. 12 when KDP-allied security forces prevented Parliament Speaker Yusuf Mohammad and his convoy from entering the capital of the Kurdistan Region, Erbil.

KDP representatives the previous day had informed Gorran ministers not to report to work after protests turned violent in eastern cities and towns.

Senior officials of the KDP have accused Gorran of orchestrating attacks on its party headquarters during demonstrations that turned violent in October.

“Barzani wants to remain powerful, and the president has more power than the prime minister and parliament,” said Kamal Chomani, a senior Kurdistan-based independent analyst.

[Read more at eKurd]

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