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KDP releases deal signed with PUK over election boycott

The KDP and the PUK over the past few months have inked several bilateral agreements. (Photo: Kurdistan24)
The Kurdistan Region’s leading party has published the full deal it signed with its main rival, accusing the latter of violating agreed-upon terms following a boycott of last Tuesday’s parliamentary session in which the President of the Kurdistan Region was elected.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), with 45 seats out of the 111-seat parliament, is the largest party in the autonomous Kurdistan Region, followed by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), with 21.

Following last year’s Sept. 30 parliamentary election, the two parties inked several bilateral agreements regarding the formation of the new Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and its cabinet, the situation in the disputed province of Kirkuk, and governmental posts in Baghdad, but disagreements persist.

On Tuesday, the Kurdistan Parliament held a special session to elect the new President of the Kurdistan Region. Based on agreements the KDP signed with the PUK and Gorran (Change) Movement, members of each party were expected to vote for the KDP candidate, Nechirvan Barzani.

Although Barzani was elected as President, securing 68 votes out of the 81 members who attended, the PUK - in a surprise move - boycotted the session moments before it was set to begin.

In the aftermath of the session and vote, the PUK’s parliamentary faction accused the KDP of violating agreements they had inked regarding the situation in Kirkuk and posts in Baghdad, namely the nomination of a new Kirkuk governor. The KDP has denied those allegations, prompting the release of details of the 18-point agreement. 

The attack and military takeover of Kirkuk by Iraqi forces and Shia militias on Oct. 16, 2017, which drove the Kurdish Peshmerga forces out of the area, has been the main source of animosity between the two parties as the Iraqi government subsequently ousted Kurdish Governor Najmaldin Karim.

Indeed, since then, the PUK has been trying to get a new governor elected in Kirkuk, with the situation in the province deteriorating week by week. However, lacking the support of the KDP, their efforts have remained unsuccessful.

The KDP has said it would support any Kurdish candidate for the post of governor but those who “betrayed” Kirkuk and “helped to hand over” the province to Iraqi forces and Shia militias.