KDP boycotts meeting of Kurdish parties in Kirkuk

Kirkuk- One of the main street in downtown Kirkuk. KirkukNow

By Goran Baban in Kirkuk

The Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP led by Masoud Barzani boycotts meeting of Kurdish political parties in Kirkuk and criticize their call to take October 10th general elections as base for sharing senior positions in the disputed oil-rich city of Kirkuk

Shakhwan Abdullah, the winning candidate for KDP in the Iraqi parliament elections, criticized a statement issued by the Kurdish parties in Kirkuk after a meeting that KDP boycotted, saying that the statement “did not address the issue of Arabization even in a line.”

Representatives of a number of Kurdish parties had met on December 14th, 2021 at the headquarters of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in Kirkuk, in which they stressed the strengthening of coexistence between the nationalities of the province and demanded that the Iraqi federal government “make the electoral process a basis for the distribution of administrative positions in Kirkuk.”

Both the KDP which has earned two out of 12 parliamentary seats of Kirkuk in Baghdad parliament and the New Generation Movement, which won one parliamentary seats in the province, boycotted the meeting.

Shakhwan Abdullah in a Facebook post titled "With regret for the Kurdish parties in Kirkuk," stressed that he hopes that the meetings of the Kurdish parties will be held constantly.

"I am among those who support the unity of the ranks and the unification of the Kurdish discourse…. Yet the issue of Arabization and efforts to seize Kurdish lands were not addressed, even in one line."

Back in 2017, the KDP suspended all its political activities in Kirkuk province, deserted its offices and all the local officials affiliated with the party who used to occupy governmental, security and administrative positions were displaced to Erbil.

The KDP then said Kirkuk has been occupied and insisted to normalize the security situation in Kirkuk and evacuate its offices taken by security services and military commands. The KDP accuses PUK of October 16th 2017 treason for collaboration with Iraqi government and pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Forces PMF.

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 along with its decades’ ally-competitor KDP which boycootd elections in Kirkuk.

In October 10th general elections, Turkmen candidates have won two seats while the Arabs have got four seats. PUK has lost half of its seats, 2 to KDP and one for the New generation. Now both PUK and KDP push for the senior positions in the province, particularly the senior positions of Kirkuk’s governor currently held by acting Governor Rakan al-Jibouri.

The PUK led by Bafel Talabani declared following a meeting of the Kurdish parties in Kirkuk on December 14th the post of Kirkuk governor is the party's entitlement according to the results of the October 10th parliamentary elections in Iraq.

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 of representatives of a number of Kurdish parties in Kirkuk on December 14th.

Kurdish political parties accuse the KDP of deliberate boycott of meetings in Kirkuk while the KDP says it is working hard to resume its political activities in Kirkuk.

Jangi Ezaddin, a senior member of the Kirkuk Organizations Center of the PUK said "We are in contact with the Kurdish parties through a group chat on social networks, and we set the dates for holding meetings and sessions, but unfortunately we have not received any response from the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the New Generation Movement like every time

“Representatives of the New Generation Movement called us later and apologized for not being able to attend the meeting,” Ezaddin added. “It seems that the Kurdistan Democratic Party protested like every time and did not attend the meetings.”

Early September, the KDP was officially back to Kirkuk following the boycott since October 2017 events to open its offices and launch electoral campaigns for Iraqi parliament election race.

"We did not participate in the meetings, but our efforts are continuing to return once and for all to Kirkuk and we will restore all our headquarters soon, then we will certainly participate in the meetings of the Kurdish parties in Kirkuk, which relate to the interests of its citizens," Abdullah responded.

On the party's final return to Kirkuk, Shakhwan said, "Our talks with the Iraqi parties have made good progress, and our final return is close, and we will resume our political struggle again."

In October, 2017, Iraqi troops backed by pro-Shiite militias expelled Kurds from Kirkuk following a referendum to join Kurdistan region held by the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG.

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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