Sunday, June 6, 2010

Kurdish Coalition Still Has Problems

On June 4, 2010, a Kurdish politician said that the Kurdish Coalition, made up of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the Change List, the Kurdistan Islamic Union, and the Kurdistan Islamic Group, recently held a meeting and will have another on June 6. The purpose of the gathering was to work on the rules of the coalition, and overcome internal divisions.

As reported before, the alliance has two main problems. First the PUK and KDP can not agree upon the powers and role of PUK head Jalal Talabani. The PUK wants him to be on equal standing to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President and KDP leader Massoud Barzani. The KDP argues that they won the most seats in the March 2010 election, so they should be the leaders. Second, the Change list wants to be a full partner in the coalition, and not be sidelined by the ruling KDP and PUK. Those two parties use to be equal, but the KDP has been in the ascendancy after the Change List won over many dissatisfied Kurds and PUK members. In turn, the PUK and KDP want to marginalize the rise of Change, so that it doesn’t threaten their control of Kurdistan.

The divisions apparently have not been overcome. On June 2, the Change List announced that they objected to Talabani returning for a second term as Iraq’s president. That was one issue all the Kurdish parties had agreed to previously, but now the differences are coming to the fore and the Change List sees it as a way to express their opposition to the dominance of Talabani and Barzani over Kurdish politics.

The new coalition still has plenty of time to work out their problems. Despite the certification of the election results on June 1, the Shiite parties are still divided about who should be prime minister, while Iyad Allawi is arguing that only he has the right to the position. The Kurds therefore, can continue with their own issues, while the Arabs are dealing with theirs, all leading to a more dragged out government formation process.

SOURCES

AK News, “Kurdish Fractions Alliance to meet next Sunday,” 6/4/10

Aswat al-Iraq, “Change List rejects Talabani’s second term,” 6/2/10

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