Iraqi PM Adil Abdul-Mahdi has asked has called for a time-out before appointing a new governor for the disputed multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk “to maintain stability and in the province”, according to a member of Kirkuk’s provincial council.
Speaking to KirkukNow, Awat Muhammad, member of the Kurds’ Brotherhood list in the council said, “Assuming the position of governor by a Kurdish candidate, even for a week, is considered an achievement for the Kurds” adding that “the talks continue with the Turkmen and Arab components, and it is hard for us to decide whether to delay or settle the issue ahead of the provincial elections.”
Awat Muhammad indicated that Abdul-Mahdi had urged the Kurdish leadership to delay the issue until the provincial council elections planned for April 2020 are held.
The call came amid continued talks between the Kurd’s negotiating team and representatives of Kirkuk’s Arab and Turkmen factions aimed to normalize the situation in the province. Their latest round of talks on which were held in Baghdad on September 4, 2019 came to a dead end.
Shamsaddin Mahmoud, head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Kirkuk organizational center’s election office commenting on the governor’s issue, said, “We are awaiting the results of the meetings in Baghdad. We don’t want for the issue to be delayed further as we have forged an agreement with the Kurdistan Democratic party (KD) to settle the issue ahead of the elections.”
He noted that the KDP has insisted that the other components of Kirkuk should be persuaded and given assurances.
On July 11, 2019, the PUK and the KDP nominated Tayyib Jabar as their joint candidate for the position of Kirkuk governor.