Nechirvan Barzani, from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and nephew of the party leader Massoud Barzani, took oath on Monday becoming officially the president of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), after he was elected by the parliament few days ago.
The official inauguration of Barzani as the KRG president means the beginning of the formation of the region’s government after ordering Bafel Talabani, candidate of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), of heading the government.
Optimistic observers believe this will be the beginning for resolving problems and conflicts with Baghdad on the oil revenues, salaries of the Kurdish employees and Peshmerga, settling issues of the disputed regions and article no.140 of the constitution.
A high-level Kurdish delegation is expected to visit Baghdad for a new round of talks, after several talks reached a deadlock.
According to Jamal Kojar, head of the Kurdistan Islamic Union bloc, a senior Kurdish delegation will visit Baghdad soon to tackle several issues with Adil Abdul-Mahdi’s cabinet with the oil issue on top as well as the 2019 state budget, the Justice Ministry candidate and situations in Kirkuk.
However, pessimistic observers think issues will not go smoothly as conflicts between the two sides are still ongoing, especially that PUK refused to attend the inauguration ceremony and set conditions for its participation including getting the Kirkuk governor post. This will make issues with Baghdad complicated.
It seems that KDP is not giving much attention to PUK’s conditions, as KDP accused PUK of stepping back from the agreement made and withdrew suddenly on the day of voting on electing a president for KRG.
PUK did not deny the accusation, to the contrary, it linked its commitment to the agreement with agreeing on activating Kirkuk provincial council and selecting a governor from the PUK.
Ghayyath al-Sorouji, PUK member, said the union “still boycotts the negotiations of forming the KRG government. It connected returning back to the agreement with two conditions; activating Kirkuk provincial council and agreement on a candidate for Justice Ministry.”
Meanwhile, Mahmoud Mohamed, KDP spokesperson, said “the party will resume measures for forming new cabinet for Kurdistan Region within the legally set timeline.”
It seems that the PUK still has fears that KDP would isolate it gradually, like what happened during the previous parliament.
Indications show that there are not just issues between the two parties but an issue of confidence that is deepening gradually.