Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Difficulties Of Power Sharing In Kirkuk

The 2008 Provincial Election Law’s Article 23 created a committee to come up with a power sharing deal in Tamim province amongst other things before voting could happen there. Ideas on how to divide up positions amongst the different groups in the province was the only area where the group made some headway. Politicians in Kirkuk actually agreed on a formula for dividing up the top positions in the province. This would lead to a Kurd being governor, an Arab deputy governor, and a Turkmen chair of the provincial council. Less was achieved on the lower positions. There was general consensus of divvying up jobs roughly by thirds with 32% for Kurds, 32% for Arabs, 32% for Turkmen, and 4% for Christians, but the problem was how to actually achieve this throughout the province. While the Kurds hold most of the top positions in Tamim, the Arabs and Turkmen dominate the lower levels, and did not want any of their group to lose jobs. Of the roughly 60,000 government officials in Tamim, 56% are Arabs, 22% are Turkmen, 18% are Kurds, and 4% are Christians. The Arabs and Turkmen were only willing to give up their positions when the current occupants retired, which of course would take a generation or two to achieve, a naturally dead end argument. The Kurds on the other hand were willing to concede some of their high level jobs in return for a fare share in the rest of the province’s government. They wanted Baghdad to assure this agreement, but with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki playing the Kurdish card to gain nationalist credentials in the rest of the country that never happened. The idea of power sharing has not moved forward since.

SOURCES

International Crisis Group, “Iraq and the Kurds: Trouble Along the Trigger Line,” 7/8/09

Al-Khalidi, Diaa, “kirkuk awaits election law,” Niqash, 3/11/09

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