As Kurdish politicians participated in meetings about Iraqi government formation, the two leading parties in the Kurdistan Region stressed the need for a united front in dealing with Baghdad to achieve a significant presence the next cabinet.
On Wednesday, delegations of both the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) held a joint press conference following some of the meetings.
“The objective of all Kurdish parties in Baghdad should be protecting the achievements and rights of the people of the Kurdistan Region,” Khasraw Goran, a member of the KDP delegation told reporters following the meeting.
Goran, appearing with PUK delegation member Khalid Shwani, highlighted the importance of unity among the Kurdish parties in dealing with Baghdad, stating that the next Kurdish delegation visiting the Iraqi capital would be comprised of members from both parties.
Currently, there are tensions between various political factions in the Kurdistan Region, with several of them rejecting the results of recent elections amid claims of fraud, due in part to new electronic devices introduced to establish voters' identification and tally votes.
Regarding potential posts allotted to Kurdish politicians, Goran stated that the two parties had not yet discussed their distribution. This included, they said, the Iraqi Presidency, which, according to the country’s power-sharing system, is held by a Kurd.
Shwani also mentioned that they had not discussed the distribution of posts, but claimed the post of president would continue to go to the PUK, despite a KDP statment to the contrary made the previous day.
Both politicians said that the Kurdistan Region should have appointments in the new Iraqi federal government commensurate with its political weight and number of parliamentary seats.
“The Kurdish role and voice will be stronger in Baghdad should the parties be united,” Shwani noted.
The KDP, led by former President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani, recieved a majority of votes in the region, securing 25 seats to become the fifth largest vote-getter in the country.
Since arriving in Baghdad on Tuesday, the KDP delegation has so far met with several Iraqi blocs, including election winner Sairoon (led by cleric Muqtada al-Sadr), the State of Law Coalition, al-Hikma, al-Fatih Coalition, and al-Wataniya. The party plans to meet other additional parties including al-Nasr (Victory), led by current Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
The PUK delegation arrived on Wednesday and is also expected to meet with several major Iraqi blocs.