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Kurds in deal with Iraq opposition to block new cabinet

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Kurds in deal with Iraq opposition to block new cabinet

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Feb 16, 2020 11:40 pm

Kurds ignored by
Iraqi leaders


Iraq’s Prime Minister-designate Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi is set to announce his new government within the week, but he has not consulted major Kurdish and Sunni parties about the formation of his cabinet

Kurdish and Sunni leaders met on Sunday to call for an Iraqi government which is representative of Iraq’s culturally diverse population.

“We are close to a historical achievement represented by finalizing an independent ministerial cabinet composed of competent individuals with integrity, insulated from intervention from any political party,” PM-designate Allawi said in a Saturday tweet.

Allawi, tasked by President Barham Salih on February 1, 2020 to form his cabinet within 30 days, said he will present his cabinet before Parliament before the end of this week.

Allawi has spoken to some Kurdish leaders over the phone, but has not held talks with Kurdish political leadership or the Kurdistan Regional Government regarding Kurdish representation in his cabinet.

Kurdish leaders fear this could set a precedent in which future Iraqi governments will not take Kurdish representation into consideration.

The Kurds are not the only ones with reservations about Allawi’s selection process. Iraq’s post-2003 political system has been designed along sectarian and ethnic lines, and Sunni Arabs also feel they have not been adequately consulted regarding the government formation.

On Sunday, Speaker of Iraqi Parliament Mohammed al-Halbousi, who is also head of the Sunni Union of Iraqi Forces coalition, met with Masoud Barzani, President of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). The KDP is one of the two ruling parties of the Kurdistan Region and is represented by two ministers in Baghdad.

Halbousi and Barzani released a joint statement about the meeting, saying that they spoke about a host of issues, with Iraq’s current political conditions taking priority.

“Any future [Iraqi] government has to be representative of all components of Iraq and [built upon the foundation of national partnership,” the statement read.

On Saturday, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) PM Masrour Barzani, in his meeting with Mohammed Ali al-Hakeem, Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs, addressed Kurdish concerns even more directly.

Barzani “asserted that the Kurdistan Region welcomes the formation of a government that is committed to the federal entity and constitutional rights of the Kurdistan Region, and for the official institutions of the Region to select Kurdistan Region’s ministers in the new Iraqi government.”

Iraq’s next government must also answer the demands of protestors who have been on the streets for more than five months demanding reform, an overhauled political system, and parliamentary elections.

Although caretaker PM Adil Abdul-Mahdi was forced to resign by the popular demands of Iraqi protesters in December of 2019, relations between the KRG and Iraq’s federal government improved drastically under his premiership.

Relations had gradually deteriorated prior to Abdul-Mahdi’s tenure, especially since 2014 when the Iraqi government cut the KRG’s budget share due to disputes over the KRG’s independent oil sales. Relations reached a low point after an Iraqi military offensive against Kurdish forces in disputed territories in October 2017.

While relations between the two governments are currently stable, any step by PM-designate Allawi that the Kurds perceive as decreasing their protection under the current constitution or limiting their access to the federal budget might not bode well.

Mohammed al-Khalidi, an MP from the Bayariq al-Khayr bloc in Iraqi parliament, speaking to Rudaw on Friday, said that the Iraqi PM has picked independent ministers “from components, not parties.”

However, Meeran Mohammed, a Kurdish MP in the Iraqi Parliament, told Rudaw on Sunday that Kurds and Sunnis “are not convinced” with the PM’s approach.

Shiite parties, who back the PM-designate, have reportedly given him a free hand in picking his cabinet. However, Kurdish parties have argued that without their direct input, Kurdish interests will not be represented in the federal government.

“Kurds should not be dealt with based on this standard because Kurds are not part of the destruction wrought upon provinces of southern Iraq, and I believe it is impossible that a cabinet not supported by two important components of Iraq succeeds,” Mohammed said.

“Iraq is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural country, and to ensure its security and stability, it needs to be built on the pillars of partnership, consensus, and balance, and to guarantee its growth, we have to secure security and peace together as components of this country,” Masoud Hayder, former Kurdish MP and a figure close to Masoud Barzani, said in a Facebook post on Sunday.

Allawi has the support of all Shiite blocs, which control more than the 170 seats needed to ensure a majority to pass his chosen cabinet.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/160220203
Last edited by Anthea on Mon Mar 02, 2020 12:29 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Kurds in deal with Iraq opposition to block new cabinet

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Re: Will Shiite control Iraq’s cabinet ignoring Kurds and Su

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:58 pm

Sadr threatens
Iraqi parliament


Iraq’s influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Saturday threatened a million person march against Iraqi parliamentarians if they fail to approve a new cabinet in an emergency parliamentary session on Monday

The leader’s statement follows a request by Prime Minister-designate Allawi last week in which he called on the Iraqi parliament to hold an emergency session to vote on the new governmental cabinet.

“We look forward to the parliament session in which they will vote on the new Iraqi governmental cabinet, but if they fail to hold the session, or do not vote on the new cabinet, or the cabinet does not meet the demands of the nation or the Marjaiya [Shiite clerical leadership], we will hold a million person march and then turn it into a strike around Green Zone area in Baghdad to apply more pressure,” Sadr said in a tweet on Saturday.

Anti-government protesters have been in the streets for almost five months, demanding regime change, constitutional change, and a better quality of life in a country where poverty and corruption are widespread.

Security forces have responded with deadly violence, including live rounds and military-grade tear gas. More than 600 protesters and security force members have been killed and at least 18,000 people injured since protests began in October, according to an Amnesty International report published in January.

Adil Abdul-Mahdi - now Iraq’s caretaker prime minister - resigned in December amid violence against protestors. After weeks of contention, Allawi was tasked on February 1 by President Barham Salih to form a new government. Protesters expressed discontent at his appointment, believing former communications minister Allawi to be part of the same establishment they were protesting against.

Sadr, who was in the northern Iran province of Qom during most of the course of protests, returned unannounced to the Iraqi province of Najaf on Saturday.

As head of the Saiyrun Alliance, the largest bloc in the Iraqi parliament, he threw his support behind Allawi’s premiership.

As part of his cosign of Allawi’s future prime ministerial tenure, Sadr ordered his ‘blue hats’ militia to leave the protest epicenter of Tahrir Square on January 24. With protesters left near defenseless, Iraqi security forces and pro-government militias attacked protesters in Baghdad and other central and southern cities, burning their tents and abducting activists.

Allawi has until March 2 to form a government. Iraqi officials have quietly expressed skepticism that he will be able to complete the task on time.

Since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, cabinets have been formed through a sectarian power-sharing system, leading to widespread horsetrading among various sects and parties. Iraq's Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish factions are likely to hold tightly to their shares of posts in the outgoing cabinet and aim to carry them over into the next lineup.

Sadr has previously sponsored mass mobilization to push forward his demands of the Iraqi political establishment.

He called last month on his supporters to participate in a million person march on the streets of Baghdad to protest US troop presence in Iraq. Though it attracted far fewer people than intended, several hundred thousand people attended the January 24 march.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/220220201
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Re: If Shiite not allow Sunnis in cabinet ISIS will gain sup

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Mar 02, 2020 12:27 am

Kurds strike deal with
Baghdad opposition


The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) delegation in Baghdad has reached a deal with opposition parties to try and prevent the Prime Minister-designate Mohammed Tafwiq Allawi from forming a cabinet

The Iraqi parliament initially conducted an emergency session on Thursday to vote on Allawi’s cabinet, but did not reach quorum and the vote was postponed to Saturday, and then rescheduled to Sunday.

It has now been postponed until further notice

Just 120 MPs turned up to last week's session in Baghdad – shy of the 165 needed to meet quorum. Kurdish and Sunni parties seem to have deliberately avoided the session, alongside some Shiites, because they fear that Allawi intends to exclude their choice of candidates from power.

Baghdad’s KRG representative Faris Issa told Rudaw English on Sunday that KRG representatives have reached an agreement with the opposition front to prevent Allawi from passing his cabinet if quorum is reached.

“The delegation of Kurdistan regional government in Baghdad reached a deal with the other Iraqi political parties to prevent Allawi’s cabinet from gaining the majority votes in the parliament,” Issa said, saying that a “deal was reached” with the State of Law Coalition, Sadiqoon and other Sunni and Shiite political parties.

Other Kurdish political parties in Iraqi parliament, however, are in favor of Allawi’s cabinet.

Caretaker PM Adil Abdul-Mahdi resigned in the face of widespread protests in Iraq’s southern and central provinces. The protests have raged since October 1, 2019, with Iraqis demanding the removal of the post-2003 political elite, an overhaul of the political system, and early elections.

Allawi- appointed as Abdul-Mahdi's successor- was given a free hand by Shiite parties to choose an independent cabinet on the condition that Kurds and Sunnis grant him the same freedom.

Under the Iraqi constitution, Allawi has until March 2 to form a cabinet

Kurds and Sunnis have argued that since Shiite parties nominated Allawi for the position of PM, they should also have the right to nominate their own figures to become ministers.

The PM-designate’s insistence upon choosing his cabinet ministers himself has caused tensions with Kurdish representatives, who have argued that the Kurdish Region itself needs to send ministers to Baghdad due to its special status.

However, Kurdish resistance may not be enough to stop the cabinet formation.

Influential Shiite Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is hoping to force parliament to accept the new government cabinet without Kurdish or Sunni approval, a Kurdish MP in Baghdad has said.

Muthana Amin, Kurdish MP from Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) told Rudaw English on Sunday that he is not optimistic regarding the methods that he believes Sadr will use to approve Allawi’s newly formed cabinet.

In a tweet last week, Sadr threatened a million person march against Iraqi parliamentarians if they failed to approve a new cabinet in an emergency parliamentary session last week.

“I believe Sadr wants to force parliament to accept Allawi, same as he forces the government by sending people to the streets,” Amin said. “I personally believe Allawi is a good politician, but this method of electing a new PM is not approved by Kurds and Sunnis.”

Amin also revealed that he does not believe Allawi’s proposed cabinet will gain enough votes in Iraqi parliament on Sunday (today 1 March) to be officially adopted.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/01032020
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