Kurdish Official to Asharq Al-Awsat: Partisan Disputes Emerge over Iraq Presidency

Kurdish Official to Asharq Al-Awsat: Partisan Disputes Emerge over Iraq Presidency

Saturday, 26 May, 2018 - 06:15
PUK politburo chief Mala Bakhtiyar. (Reuters)
Baghdad – Hamza Mustafa
A dispute between Iraqi Kurdish officials and Shiite parties emerged on Friday over the country’s presidency, after two delegations from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), of former President Masoud Barzani, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) traveled to Baghdad this week to take part in post-election deal-making.

KDP member Shawan Mohammed Taha, who was part of the Kurdish delegation, also revealed a dispute over who will be the country’s next prime minister.

“There is a team who sees that the deal must be inked without the Dawa party, of outgoing PM Haidar al-Abadi, and his predecessor Nouri al-Maliki,” he explained.

Another team, however, sees a possibility of working with the Dawa and Maliki without Abadi. They are also open to working with the Dawa and Abadi without Maliki, Taha told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The two negotiating Kurdish teams, returned to Erbil and Suleimania after spending three days in Baghdad where they met most Iraqi political leaders, mainly Shiite officials represented by the Sairoun, Fateh, Victory, State of Law and the National Wisdom Movement blocs.

Following their return, a press conference held by the PUK politburo chief Mala Bakhtiyar revealed the dispute over the presidency between the party, which is based in Suleimania, and Barzani’s party, which controls the two provinces of Irbil and Dahuk.

The PUK asserted that it should have the share of the presidency, to which Taha responded: “It is no longer the share of any party, particularly after the annulment of the Kurdistan Region presidency.”

Previously, the position of Iraqi president was held by the PUK party and the Kurdistan Region presidency by the KDP.

An informed Kurdish source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the PUK already has two candidates for the position of the presidency: current Iraqi President Fuad Masum and former Minister for Water Resources Abdul Latif Rashid.

The source said the party’s politburo still has not made a final decision concerning which candidate it would support.

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