Government and Integrity commission reports to follow,

Acting governor of Kirkuk passed evaluation by parliamentary committee

The historical Citadel of Kirkuk at the center of Kirkuk, 2020. KirkukNow

By Laila Ahmad in Kirkuk

Acting Kirkuk Governor Rakan Saeed Jiburi has passed an evaluation by a parliamentary committee and is still awaiting the results of two other committees, as part of the government's agenda to evaluate and investigate the performance of acting governors.

The new Iraqi government has decided to resolve the acting posts, including governors in several stages, according to the government agenda approved by parliament on October 27, 2022 which was scheduled to be resolved within six months of the cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani.

Ali Hammadi, the Kirkuk governor assistant, told KirkukNow that the evaluation of the acting governors will be through three committees. The first committee has given the evaluation forms to the provincial parliamentarians.

"The governor of Kirkuk has been good in all conditions and he was one of the five top governors."

The governor's evaluation form consists of several points, including the governor's ability for decision making, solving problems, promote investment, provide information to the lawmakers and finally proposals by the lawmakers who are members of the committee to remove or keep the acting governor in office.

According to the second amendment to the provincial council law No. 12 of 2018, which was approved by parliament at the end of 2019, the work of the provincial councils ended and in their place, MPs from each province were appointed to oversee the affairs of the governor.

The oil rich city of Kirkuk, Iraq's second largest oil reserves, is ethnically a mixed province of 1.7 million Kurds, Sunni and Shiite Arabs, and Turkmens. It has long been at the center of disputes between the federal government in Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government KRG.

The disputed territories run from Shingal in Ninewa province on the Syrian border, west of Iraq, up to southeast in Khanaqin and Mandali on the Iranian border. 

Rakan Jiburi, acting governor of Kirkuk and Ali Hammadi, deputy governor, Kirkuk, 2023. Media of Provincial administration

"We filled out the evaluation form in the parliament and each MP evaluated the governor's performance, activities and administration," Sabah Habib, a member of the Iraqi parliament from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan PUK faction, told KirkukNow.

He said he was not aware of the affairs of the other evaluation committees and said the process will be monitored by the Council of Ministers and the recommendations of the evaluation committees will be given to the Council of Ministers.

In addition to the committee that received the opinions of parliamentarians; the prime minister has formed a special committee to decide the fate of the acting governors, through several assessments that rely on financial monitoring reports, the Federal Integrity Commission, parliamentary reports and planning reports.

Citizens' protests against the provincial administration, strikes and monitoring of projects are part of the evaluation criteria

"The committee will also take into account several other aspects, including citizens' protests against the provincial administration, strikes and monitoring of projects, which are all 12 criteria to evaluate the performance of the acting governors," Kirkuk governor assistant said.

KirkukNow tried to get information about the work of the committee to evaluate the acting governors through several ministers of the Iraqi government, but none responded.

Reconstruction and Housing Minister Bangin Rekani told the semi-official Iraqia TV channel in April that the prime minister's committee to evaluate the acting governors was in the process of submitting its report.

However, KirkukNow contacted Jaber Hassani, the deputy minister, who said the case had nothing to do with them.

Regarding the evaluation of the performance of the acting governors; another committee, through the Federal Integrity Commission and Financial Supervision Board, collects information.

The PUK and the Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP, the two key Kurdish political parties, pledged during the campaigns for October 2021 General Elections to remove the acting governor of Kirkuk from office, arguing he assumed the position illegally.

Al-Jiburi assumed the position of acting governor of Kirkuk by a decision of the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in late 2017, succeeding the former governor of Kirkuk, Najimadin Karim, a Kurd, who was dismissed from his post by a decision of the Iraqi parliament, following September 2017 referendum for independence by the Kurds in the semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan Region IKR and the disputed territories.

The PUK, which had an upper hand in Kirkuk till 2017 when Iraqi military forces imposed Law Enforcement operation to oust the Kurdish Peshemrga from Kirkuk and the disputed territories, endeavors to regain this position of governor it was holding since 2005.

The Kurds own six of the 12 parliamentary seats of Kirkuk, the Arabs have four, and the Turkmen have two seats, besides a quota seat for the Christian component. The PUK is the only party that earned three seats out of a total of 12 parliamentary seats for Kirkuk.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Sudani and his cabinet ministers take the oath of office, Baghdad, 2022. House of Representatives

Hammadi said the committee of the Integrity Commission and the Financial Audit are based on complaints, shortcomings and corruption, "the assessment of the Kirkuk Anti-Corruption Commission, was not a good and clear assessment," without giving further explanation.

The governor of Kirkuk and some other officials of the provincial administration have been summoned more than once in different cases in the last few years.

“We have been aware of the committee and its activities in Kirkuk. The Turkmen, Arab and Christian communities have all agreed to keep the current governor in office Only the Kurds did not agree,” Hammadi added.

Jiburi, who was the deputy governor, took over the post of acting governor of Kirkuk in late November 2017 by the decision of then Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, after the removal of former governor Najmadin Karim by parliament.

According to the Iraqi law, the election of the governor is only in the power of the provincial councils, but since 2019, the council's work has been suspended, according to State’s Advisory Council, in the absence of councils, the governor can submit his resignation to the prime minister, who has power to appoint a replacement.

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