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Published On: Sun, Aug 13th, 2017

Gorran wants to see Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum postponed

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nsnbc : The Gorran (Change Movement) in the Kurdistan Autonomous Region of Iraq (KAR) wants to see the Iraqi – Kurdish leadership to postpone the independence referendum, scheduled for September 25, until the right time and conditions emerge.

Gorran_Iraq_Kurdistan Autonomous RegionOn Saturday Gorran issued a statement saying they were ready to have direct talks with the Kurdistan Democratic party (KDP) led by Kurdistan Auronomous Region President Massoud Barzani about the issue.

Gorran maintains that the current arrangement for holding the referendum is illegal, arguing that the parliament is the right institution to call for the vote when the time is right. Gorran’s statement read:

The declaration and the foundation of the independent state of Kurdistan is the objective of all the people of Kurdistan and Gorran Movement… but the decision to hold the referendum on September 25, 2017 was made without legal, proper political and economic, security and social preparations, especially the issue of the Kurdistani areas [disputed areas]. That is why it is necessary that this issue be postponed until the right time and conditions and be presented to the parliament of Kurdistan.”

In its statement, Gorran added that the Kurdistan parliament should also discuss the issue of the presidency law that has been at the center of disagreements between the two parties. The statement was issued after a long meeting of the party’s leadership, headed by party leader Omar Ali. Gorran said the party would take the path of dialogue to resolve outstanding issues between it and other Kurdish parties.

Gorran previously stressed that the parliament of Kurdistan should be “normalized” following an agreement between the political parties whose main task would be to “amend the law of the Kurdistan presidency” and implement the parliamentary system.

Gorran has also repeated noted that government of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region should cancel the delayed-salary system by which public servants receive only part of their wages, calling the system that was introduced by the government as a measure to deal with the ongoing financial crisis “illegal.”

Another point addressed by Gorran was oil and gas. The party called for “transparency” and the creation of an oil and gas fund per a law that was passed by the parliament in 2015. The KDP and Gorran are the two largest parties in the Kurdistan Region’s parliament, followed by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

The main issue for Gorran is not the fact that the parliament is closed for about two years or that the time or circumstances are not right for an independence referendum. It all rather comes down to one central issue: the issue of the Kurdish presidency. Gorran is for a parliamentary system, and has been very clear that the term of Kurdish president Massoud Barzani has ended four years ago.

Bills passed by the Kurdish parliament has to be signed into law by the president, and knowing that Gorran considers Barzani’s term expired and therefore illegitimate, the party has refused to seek his signature. Even if the Kurdish parliament is reactivated and passes a law backing the referendum, nothing will have been solved if the two do not agree on the president and his authority to sign the law.

Massoud Barzani has closed down and suspended the Kurdish parliament in October 2015 after his term as president of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region had expired in August 2015. Barzani refused to step down and remains unofficially in office. Kurdistan parliament speaker from Gorran, Yusuf Mohammed Sadiq, was prevented by Barzani’s KDP forces from entering Erbil in 2015.

According to the law, Barzani cannot legally run for another term under the current constitution but he could technically speaking run for another tem or terms provided that there is a declaration of independence and a new constitution.

The KDP said last month that it dropped preconditions it held to reactivating the parliament, namely removing parliamentary speaker and Gorran member Sadiq from his post and banning discussions on the position of the presidency.

F/AK – nsnbc 13.08.2017

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