The Kurdistan Region’s two leading parties met on Tuesday to discuss, among other things, the formation of the next regional government and the question of the contested province of Kirkuk, a source familiar with the talks said.
The meeting comes as the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) prepares two delegations tasked with meeting and discussing the formation of the new Kurdistan regional government with other leading political entities in the region.
This meeting would only serve to kickstart the talks rather than determine the new government.
The KDP team, spearheaded by leadership member Nechirvan Barzani, met in Erbil with a Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) delegation led by Kosrat Rasul. In the recent regional parliamentary elections, out of the total 111 seats, the KDP won 45 and the PUK 21.
This would be the first meeting between the leadership of both parties since talks they held early October and late November, chiefly, on the post of the Iraqi presidency, which eventually went to the PUK candidate, Barham Salih.
After the vote on the new president, bilateral ties weakened as the KDP alleged the PUK had broken a deal over the largely ceremonial post, which was allegedly meant to go to nominee Fuad Hussein of the KDP. He is now the Iraqi Finance Minister and an acting deputy to the premier.
Following his election by lawmakers, Salih called on Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to form the new government. He was later sorin in with a partial cabinet later in October.
Since then, Abdul-Mahdi has been struggling to complete his cabinet as leading Iraqi factions continue to contest eight ministries, among them the security posts of defense and interior.
The PUK has said that the post of justice minister, to which Abdul-Mahdi has nominated an independent, belongs to them.
Ties between the KDP and PUK seem to have improved with the Tuesday meeting, signaling a possible easing of tensions.
Both parties had previously agreed on a partnership to represent the demands of the people of the Kurdistan Region, an agenda that will purportedly be brought up in the latest meeting.