Political parties seek Kirkuk governor position

Kirkuk, 2017- one of the main streets downtown. KirkukNow

By KirkukNow

The leading political parties in Kirkuk look for the governor position. Both leading Kurdish political parties and Turkmens work hard for it while the current acting governor is still in position.

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan PUK led by Bafel Talabani declared following a meeting of the Kurdish parties in Kirkuk that the post of Kirkuk governor is the party's entitlement according to the results of the October 10th parliamentary elections in Iraq.

In the parliamentary elections that were held on October 10, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan PUK won three seats out of a total of 12 seats allocated to the governorate based on which it considers itself the first winner of the elections in Kirkuk and based on that, it demands the position of Kirkuk governor, which is currently held by the Arab Front which has obtained only one seat in the province.

Rawand Mahmoud, head of the Kirkuk Organizations Center of PUK said in a press conference, in which representatives of a number of Kurdish parties participated, "We demand the Iraqi federal government to make the electoral process a basis for the distribution of administrative positions in Kirkuk."

Regarding the position of the governor of Kirkuk, Mahmoud said, "This position belongs to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, and we will insist on it."

Rakan Saeed al-Jibouri had assumed the position of acting governor of Kirkuk in  October 2017 by a decision of former Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, and currently one of the wining candidates of the Iraqi parliament, but it is not clear whether he will take his parliamentary seat this time or not.

Al-Jibouri secured in the previous session a seat in Parliament back in 2018 but he did not take the constitutional oath in order to remain in the position of governor instead of Najmaddin Karim, candidate of PUK, who was dismissed from his position in September of the same year by a decision of the Iraqi parliament.

Back in 2018, the Turkmens and Arabs each have got each three seats of the 12 parliamentary seats of Kirkuk and the rest six has gone to the PUK, one of the key Kurdish parties and stakeholder of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government KRG.

In October 10th general elections, Turkmens have won two seats in the second constituency of Kirkuk and Arabs have won the three seats of the third district and a seat in the Kurd-predominant first constituency.

Kurdish political parties have won four out of five seats f the first constituency and two seats of the second.

The PUK has won three seats, and two seats were gone to the Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP which boycotted 2018 elections. The New generation, Naway New (New Generation) which claims to be an opposition party, has earned a seat for the first time in Kirkuk.

The northern oil-rich city of Kirkuk, located 238 kilometers north of Baghdad, is an ethnically mixed province for 1.7 million Kurds, Sunni and Shiite Arabs, and Turkmen. It has long been at the center of disputed territories between Baghdad and Erbil.

Video: The press conference for representatives of a number of Kurdish parties in Kirkuk on December 14

The Kurdish parties in Kirkuk held a meeting on December 14 at the Kirkuk Organizations Center for the PUK and according to the meeting's statement, they stressed fraternity and coexistence among the components of Kirkuk governorate.

"We demand the Kirkuk administration to provide services to all areas of Kirkuk without discrimination," the statement said.

The insistence of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan to assume the position of governor comes at a time when the Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP, led by Masoud Barzani, on several occasions, after announcing the election results, demanded that position it considers its right after winning two seats in the last parliamentary elections.

For its part, the Iraqi Turkmen Front ITF, a leading Turkmen party, through the head of the front, Hassan Turan, said on May 29 in a session dedicated for representatives of a number of media channels, "It is illogical that the position of the governor should be monopolized between two ethnicities”.

Both Kurdish parties along with the change of the governor, are working hard for the return of the Peshmerga forces to Kirkuk where they were forced to withdraw in October 2017 after the independence referendum in the Kurdistan Region, a matter strongly opposed by Arab and Turkmen communities and political parties.

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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