2018-09-18 18:25:00

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — With leadership positions in the Iraqi parliament settled, Western diplomats are cozying up with the new MPs, calling on them to be leaders devoid of corruption.

Jan Kubis, the special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq, has congratulated Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi and two deputies, Hassan al-Kaabi and Bashir Haddad, for their elevation in the Council of Representatives.

Although Kubis did express “deep disappointment that none of the eminently qualified women” were selected.

The outgoing UNAMI head is urging Iraq to “expeditiously proceed” in line with the constitution. It says the president of Iraq shall be elected within two weeks.

Kubis implored partnership — away from sectarian quotas and corruption.

“Only such a government can regain the confidence of the people, swiftly act to fulfill their demands for improved public services, jobs, economic development and reform, protect the interests of Iraq, and ensure full respect for its sovereignty and independence,” he added.

A delegation from the US Embassy and Erbil consulate general, headed by Special Presidential Envoy Brett McGurk, told KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani that Washington endorses Kurdish participation in the Iraqi political process, according to a KRG statement on Monday.

“The visiting delegation discussed the election process of the Speaker of Iraqi Council of Representatives and both deputies, the negotiations among Iraqi political parties on one side and the Kurdistan Region’s negotiations with Baghdad on another side and Kurdistan’s parliamentary election,” read a readout from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

The speakership and parliament, along with the president, were often beholden to decisions made by the government headed by incumbent Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi who led a successful military campaign to retake territory captured by ISIS, but underperformed in the parliamentary election on May 12. He indicated he will not seek a second term following Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani’s lack of support for recent Iraqi leaders.

The US delegation “showed their support for the significant role of Kurds in Baghdad and their strong participation in Iraqi political process and government,” the statement added.

Kurdistan’s two largest parties in Baghdad, Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), have a bloc that espouses rights for the people of Kurdistan over government posts.

Barzani told the delegation that negotiations between parties, “especially the KDP and PUK continue to form a unity for the political process in Baghdad.”

Campaigning continues for Kurdistan’s parliamentary election on September 30.

The KDP deputy added that “the election campaign is going in a peaceful and orderly way in Kurdistan Region.”

Kurdistan’s election body cracked down on violations in campaigning when it began, and so far the process has been relatively calm.