Kurds are main cause of continuing political stalemate in Iraq: former MP

A former representative of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in the Iraqi parliament said: "The recent meeting of Nechirvan Barzani, the President of the Kurdistan Region, with the officials of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and most Kurdish parties was aimed at resolving disputes and reaching an agreement on the Iraqi presidency."

In an interview with the Iraqi National News Agency (Nina), the former PUK parliament member, Rezan Sheikh Delir, added: " the move by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) has been done to converge the Kurdish parties, because the Kurds are the cause of the current political stalemate in Iraq due to disagreement over holding the Iraqi presidency." .
Sheikh Delir stressed: The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan remains committed to Barham Salih's candidacy for the presidency of Iraq and will not agree with any other candidate for the post.
A visit by Nechirvan Barzani to the stronghold of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Sulaimani, on May 21 was an attempt at solving this and other issues. The meeting was followed by another high-ranking meeting in Erbil to follow up on the first meeting.
Over seven months since the Oct. 10 parliamentary elections, Iraq at the national level still does not have a prime minister or a president, the latter being the longstanding preserve of the Kurds.
Barzani belongs to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which holds the most seats in both the national and regional parliaments. It is headquartered in Erbil, the regional capital.
On May 17, head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said that "divisions have deepened, with adverse effects on the people of the Kurdistan Region.”
The KDP and the PUK have allied with opposing sides in the political wrangling to form Iraq's next government. The KDP has become part of a tripartite alliance with the Sadrist bloc and the Sunni Arab Save the Homeland alliance, while the PUK opted to ally with the Coordination Framework (CF), a pro-Iran Shiite Arab alliance.
During his visit, Barzani met with senior PUK officials, the Change Movement (Gorran), Kurdistan Justice Group (Komal), the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) and the KDP's Sulaimaniyah branch.
PUK parliament member Karwan Gaznay commented on the meeting to Al-Monitor on May 24, saying, “From our perspective, every meeting that serves the public good can be judged as a good meeting.”
However, he noted that the top issue for his party was that the Kurdistan Regional Government should engage in “a concrete and strategic dialogue with Baghdad based on the constitution to solve the issues between Baghdad and Erbil,” and “we think that the oil sector has not been transparent, so there must be reform in this sector since it has been badly corrupted.”
The presidency has since the period following the 2003 invasion by US forces and the toppling of the Saddam Hussein regime been set aside for a Kurd, while the position of prime minister goes to Shiite Arabs and that of parliament speaker to Sunni Arabs.
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