The March 4th agreement signed between the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) has not included a timeframe for the appointing of a new governor for the multi-ethnic province of Kirkuk which was one of the points of dispute between the two main Kurdish political parties, according to sources.
PUK and KDP officials met on Monday in Erbil and signed a political agreement on the formation of the new Kurdistan Region cabinet, however they failed to agree on a candidate for the post and tasked a special committee to reach a final decision.
A KDP official who spoke to KirkukNow on condition of anonymity said, “The agreement indicated that the post of Kirkuk governor will be assumed by a PUK candidate, yet the issue cannot be finalized hastily. We are moving forward with the formation of the cabinet, but the issue of the governor will be decided by a joint committee because the KDP believes the issue would not be successful without taking the views of the other components and the Iraqi government into consideration.”
KDP’s stance on the issue of Kirkuk remains unchanged
The source stressed that the KDP’s stance on the issue of Kirkuk remains unchanged; the military rule should be brought to an end and that any candidates for the post of governor should be approved by the KDP as well.”
Asked whether the KDP has a favourite candidate for the post, the source emphasized that “anyone who took part in the October 16, 2017 events cannot become a governor.”
The KDP accuses the KDP of “betrayal” during the October 16, 2017 events when Iraqi security forces retook control of territories disputed between the Iraqi federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), driving Kurdish Peshmarga forces out.
Meanwhile, the PUK will not take part in the new cabinet unless a PUK candidate is appointed as Kirkuk governor.
A PUK leadership member told KirkukNow, “The PUK politburo and leadership committee held extensive talks on the issue and have come to the conclusion that the KDP has not given consent to PUK candidates, but the agreement stipulated that the post will go to a PUK candidate.”
The PUK official added that the joint committee would need more time to decide on a single candidates; it depends on the return of PUK to the parliament sessions and support the KDP to reactivate the post of Kurdistan Region president and the formation of the new cabinet.”
The PUK lost the post of Kirkuk governor following the October 16, 2017 events and has been engaged in intensive efforts to convince the diverse components of Kirkuk, the KDP and the Iraqi government to re-assume the post.