Members of suspended Kirkuk provincial council look for retirement

Kirkuk- A session of Kirkuk provincial council ahead of suspension of provincial councils all over Iraq. Kirkuknow

By Goran Baban in Kirkuk

The members of the suspended provincial council of Kirkuk are looking for pension salary as they have not received wages since November 2019 as the supreme court supported parliament’s order to suspended provincial councils.

The verdict by the supreme federal court of Iraq in June 2021 in the case of lawsuit filed by provincial councils against Iraqi parliament’s order of 2019 declared the parliament per the constitution has suspended the duties of provincial councils all over Iraq.

“Monthly salaries of all the members of the provincial council were stopped since November 2019 and the government has not taken a decisive stand either to retire us or pay our overdue financial privileges,” said Jiwan Hussein, member of Kurdish Fraternity bloc of suspended Kirkuk provincial council.

Monthly salaries of all the members of the provincial council were stopped since November 2019

The Iraqi parliament have suspended the provincial councils all over Iraq in October 2019 following demands by protestors and amendment of electoral law.

The oil rich-city of Kirkuk, 238 kilometers north of Baghdad, is home to about 1.2 million Kurds, Turkmen and Arabs, according to KRG figures in 2018. It is the center of the disputed territories as it was controlled by the Kurdish parties till October 2017 when Iraqi security forces have retaken control of Kirkuk and the disputed territories following the declaration of defeat of ISIS by Iraqi government.

KirkukNow has come to know that most of the 41 members of Kirkuk council have filed applications for pension and some of them finished it.

The current pension system in Iraq gives right of pension for civil servants aged 60 years and above or those have served for 15 years and aged 45 years and above. These amendments followed the suspension of the councils as the old law requires minimum age of 50 years for retirement of civil servants.

“They should have dealt with us per new amendments yet they told us our applications are dealt with per the old law before amendment so another member and me have to wait another year to become 50 years old,” sad Jiwan Hassan.

Kirkuk, April 25th 2017- A session of Kirkuk provincial council. Council media

Any member of the council employed by the government can return to his previous position with the same privileges.

The last election for provincial council was in 2013 yet it was hled only once in Kirkuk since fall of Saddam regime in 2003, which was in 2005, meaning each member has a minimum of 14 years state employment.

“We believe the dossier of provincial councils is shut forever and almost impossible to get back to office. Any member served fully can retire and those released of their previous positions can resume,” said Tahsin Kahiya, member of the Turkmen bloc.

“Most of us have applied for retirement but no results yet. There are some other details to finalize it and asked the government to sort it out as all members are deprived of their financial privileges,” Kahiya added.

Each member of the council receives about 2,300,000 Iraqi Dinars IQD (USD2,000) in addition to 600,000 IQD for gas and transportations, 50,000 for Internat and phone credit recharge.

Each member is entitled for 1-1.5 million IQD pension salary.  25 members have finalized all paper procedure and wait for final confirmation. The Kurdish bloc of Fraternity hold 26s seats in the 41-member Kirkuk provincial council, 9 for the Turkmen, Sunni and Shiite Mulims and 6 seats for the Arabs.

We have families and have no any other source of income

Mohammed Khidhir, member of the Arab bloc of Kirkuk council, said financial audit body has stopped their applications since last year.

“What is the sin we have committed? We showed all respect to the decision of Iraqi parliament and federal court so why they do not finalize our papers,” said Khidhir.

“I am jobless since 18 months. We also have families and no other source of income.”

Due to the standoff between Erbil and Baghdad for political and security reasons following the events of October 16th 2017, Kirkuk council has held only one meeting till it has been suspended by the parliament.

The parliament have tasked its members to censor local administrations in their hometowns till next eections which has not been determined yet.

Kurds were holding the senior positions of Kirkuk such as governor Kirkuk and head of the provincial council up to 2017. Back in 2018 parliamentary elections, Kurds won 6 out of 13 seats of Kirkuk in the Iraqi parliament in Baghdad, Arab and Turkmen each three and one quota seat for the Christians.

Currently, Iraqi army, local and federal police, Brigade 61 of Special Forces along with Shiite paramilitary of Popular Mobilization Forces PMF, are under Kirkuk joint operations’ command, an umbrella for the security forces running the security of Kirkuk province. 

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