Peregraf Is Anchored on Trust

Kurdistan’s ethnic and religious components between independence and KDP’s subsidiary

Kurdistan’s ethnic and religious components between independence and KDP’s subsidiary

Peregraf- Surkew Mohammed

In response to criticisms claiming that the MPs representing ethnic and religious minorities in Kurdistan Parliament are being part of Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)’s plan and agenda, and are being termed as the KDP's subsidiary parties, Masoud Barzani, KDP’s President, expressed his concern and reasserted his support for ethno-religious components.

Barzani says in a statement, “the unacceptable affront directed to the ethnic and religious components in Kurdistan is of our concern, I hereby assert that we fully support them and they are an integral part of the Kurdistan people and their rights are preserved.”

Criticism towards the components was stimulated after KDP managed to lift parliamentary immunity on Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG)’s lawmaker, Soran Omer. KDP could not manage to succeed without the votes from component lawmakers, as all the other political fractions and the Speaker of Parliament boycotted the session. In addition to the criticism from other political parties and the public, some parties and characters from the components themselves have openly criticized their performance and their affiliation with KDP.

Before the parliamentary session was held, Soran Omer addressed the components and said: "Do not be the crutch for KDP against us!” The lawmaker said in a statement: "Just like the components do not compete against other political parties for votes during elections, they should also not become part of KDP’s agenda in this issue. Otherwise, they represent KDP’s subsidiary, and it is a shame to present themselves as ethnic and religious components while secretly siding with KDP, since some of them secured their seats through votes from Zeravani Forces.”

KDP and the components 

As soon as the 2018 parliamentary election in Kurdistan ended, KDP made a plan to not pass any law and decision in the next four years without its consent in Kurdistan Parliament, especially in sensitive and critical matters. And to do so, KDP depended on the component representatives in Parliament.

In November 2018, when Parliament Presidency was yet to be formed, Peregraf disclosed KDP’s plan to secure the Deputy Speaker position for itself and the Secretary position for the Turkmen component, specifically for Muna Kahvaci, whereby to secure the two-thirds of Parliament Presidency and restrict the Speaker of Parliament.

In this round, KDP holds the majority with 45 seats out of 111. 11 seats are allocated to the components that make 50%+1 with the 45 seats of KDP. The second is the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) whose seats do not make up to half of KDP seats. In the previous round of Parliament there had been lots of tensions with KDP’s agenda and interests as it only had one position out of the three presidencies.

11 seats are allocated to the components by quota system, therefore, their candidates need fewer votes to be granted a seat compared to the other 100 seats; there are lawmakers from the components that have been granted a seat by only 200 votes. 

For some successive rounds, KDP has secured the seats of components for itself and support the candidates siding with the party. It does so in the special voting where armed forces vote. The latter is more controlled by the parties and votes for whoever their party want.

Arranging parliamentary sessions, setting the agenda and adding any law project in the agenda are decided by the President of the Parliament, and not only by the Speaker. The Speaker always needs a signature from the Deputy Speaker or the Secretary.

In the current parliament situation, sessions cannot be held and projects cannot be placed in the sessions’ agenda without the consent of KDP, as it controls the Deputy Speaker and the Secretary. The Deputy Speaker and Secretary, however, can hold sessions and decide about the agenda without the consent of the Speaker as they did so in removing immunity for lawmaker Soran Omer.

Ethnic and Religious Components in Kurdistan

Ethnic and religious components in Kurdistan Region are expecting to be assigned more positions and are seeking to achieve all their rights so that they can participate in the government and local administrations, especially in their areas.

In different parts of Kurdistan Region, there are Christians, Turkmens, Yazidis, Shabaks, Kaka’is, Mandaeans amongst many others, whose rights are legally recognized.

According to the statistics Peregraf obtained, 220000 Christians live in Kurdistan Region, predominantly in Duhok and Erbil.

“All the political parties intervene in our affairs and violate our rights; we are being deprived of governmental positions. In Duhok, for instance, we do not have any supreme administrative position even though we are large in number,” says Haysem Patros, a Christian activist in Duhok.

In the KRG’s Council of Ministers, however, the Christians have a minister, and in the Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs, they have a separate directorate of their own. Furthermore, in 111 seats of Kurdistan Parliament, 11 seats are reserved for the minorities; 5 for the Christians, 5 for the Turkmens and 1 for the Armenians.

At the beginning of this year, Kurdistan Parliament passed in absolute majority an act concerning the official commemoration days of the Turkmen, related to the language and newspaper day of the minority.

The Act of Protecting Minorities’ Rights in The Kurdistan Region was passed in Parliament in 2015, in which any discriminations based on ethnic and religious differences are banned. In addition to the basic rights of mother tongue, education, respecting their beliefs and ceremonies, the act also gives the minorities the right of administration and participation in legislation and government.

KDP does not want the previous Parliament round to repeat itself

The previous parliament round was a different experience for Kurdistan Region and for KDP, as the most powerful opposition party took the Speaker of Parliament position, Deputy Speaker for another opposition party, and Deputy Speaker for KDP.

In the round that lasted for only one year and a half, Speaker Yusuf Muhammad and Deputy Speaker Fakhradin Qadir had a strong relationship. On several occasions, they decided about the sessions’ agenda and which law proposals to be in the agenda for Parliament discussion without the consent of Jaffar Eminiki, Secretary of Parliament and a member of KDP’s political bureau, which concerned KDP.

The opposition parties consider that period as important and bright, but for KDP it was a time of tensions and obstacles. Therefore, KDP could not stand the round to end and in the midst of the dispute concerning the presidency issue, in October 2015 the party stopped the Speaker of Parliament from returning to office. Not only did KDP closed the parliament door on his face, but also shut the door of Erbil, causing parliament to experience a longstanding paralysis.

Now, by controlling the Parliament Presidency, KDP wants to impose its hegemony and interests on the institutions responsible for legislations and observing government. KDP now manages to pass his proposals and decisions with the help of the components without facing any obstacles by other parties’ protests and pressure.

Kurdistan’s ethnic and religious components between independence and KDP’s subsidiary

2020-05-15 21:06:39

Peregraf- Surkew Mohammed

In response to criticisms claiming that the MPs representing ethnic and religious minorities in Kurdistan Parliament are being part of Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)’s plan and agenda, and are being termed as the KDP's subsidiary parties, Masoud Barzani, KDP’s President, expressed his concern and reasserted his support for ethno-religious components.

Barzani says in a statement, “the unacceptable affront directed to the ethnic and religious components in Kurdistan is of our concern, I hereby assert that we fully support them and they are an integral part of the Kurdistan people and their rights are preserved.”

Criticism towards the components was stimulated after KDP managed to lift parliamentary immunity on Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG)’s lawmaker, Soran Omer. KDP could not manage to succeed without the votes from component lawmakers, as all the other political fractions and the Speaker of Parliament boycotted the session. In addition to the criticism from other political parties and the public, some parties and characters from the components themselves have openly criticized their performance and their affiliation with KDP.

Before the parliamentary session was held, Soran Omer addressed the components and said: "Do not be the crutch for KDP against us!” The lawmaker said in a statement: "Just like the components do not compete against other political parties for votes during elections, they should also not become part of KDP’s agenda in this issue. Otherwise, they represent KDP’s subsidiary, and it is a shame to present themselves as ethnic and religious components while secretly siding with KDP, since some of them secured their seats through votes from Zeravani Forces.”

KDP and the components 

As soon as the 2018 parliamentary election in Kurdistan ended, KDP made a plan to not pass any law and decision in the next four years without its consent in Kurdistan Parliament, especially in sensitive and critical matters. And to do so, KDP depended on the component representatives in Parliament.

In November 2018, when Parliament Presidency was yet to be formed, Peregraf disclosed KDP’s plan to secure the Deputy Speaker position for itself and the Secretary position for the Turkmen component, specifically for Muna Kahvaci, whereby to secure the two-thirds of Parliament Presidency and restrict the Speaker of Parliament.

In this round, KDP holds the majority with 45 seats out of 111. 11 seats are allocated to the components that make 50%+1 with the 45 seats of KDP. The second is the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) whose seats do not make up to half of KDP seats. In the previous round of Parliament there had been lots of tensions with KDP’s agenda and interests as it only had one position out of the three presidencies.

11 seats are allocated to the components by quota system, therefore, their candidates need fewer votes to be granted a seat compared to the other 100 seats; there are lawmakers from the components that have been granted a seat by only 200 votes. 

For some successive rounds, KDP has secured the seats of components for itself and support the candidates siding with the party. It does so in the special voting where armed forces vote. The latter is more controlled by the parties and votes for whoever their party want.

Arranging parliamentary sessions, setting the agenda and adding any law project in the agenda are decided by the President of the Parliament, and not only by the Speaker. The Speaker always needs a signature from the Deputy Speaker or the Secretary.

In the current parliament situation, sessions cannot be held and projects cannot be placed in the sessions’ agenda without the consent of KDP, as it controls the Deputy Speaker and the Secretary. The Deputy Speaker and Secretary, however, can hold sessions and decide about the agenda without the consent of the Speaker as they did so in removing immunity for lawmaker Soran Omer.

Ethnic and Religious Components in Kurdistan

Ethnic and religious components in Kurdistan Region are expecting to be assigned more positions and are seeking to achieve all their rights so that they can participate in the government and local administrations, especially in their areas.

In different parts of Kurdistan Region, there are Christians, Turkmens, Yazidis, Shabaks, Kaka’is, Mandaeans amongst many others, whose rights are legally recognized.

According to the statistics Peregraf obtained, 220000 Christians live in Kurdistan Region, predominantly in Duhok and Erbil.

“All the political parties intervene in our affairs and violate our rights; we are being deprived of governmental positions. In Duhok, for instance, we do not have any supreme administrative position even though we are large in number,” says Haysem Patros, a Christian activist in Duhok.

In the KRG’s Council of Ministers, however, the Christians have a minister, and in the Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs, they have a separate directorate of their own. Furthermore, in 111 seats of Kurdistan Parliament, 11 seats are reserved for the minorities; 5 for the Christians, 5 for the Turkmens and 1 for the Armenians.

At the beginning of this year, Kurdistan Parliament passed in absolute majority an act concerning the official commemoration days of the Turkmen, related to the language and newspaper day of the minority.

The Act of Protecting Minorities’ Rights in The Kurdistan Region was passed in Parliament in 2015, in which any discriminations based on ethnic and religious differences are banned. In addition to the basic rights of mother tongue, education, respecting their beliefs and ceremonies, the act also gives the minorities the right of administration and participation in legislation and government.

KDP does not want the previous Parliament round to repeat itself

The previous parliament round was a different experience for Kurdistan Region and for KDP, as the most powerful opposition party took the Speaker of Parliament position, Deputy Speaker for another opposition party, and Deputy Speaker for KDP.

In the round that lasted for only one year and a half, Speaker Yusuf Muhammad and Deputy Speaker Fakhradin Qadir had a strong relationship. On several occasions, they decided about the sessions’ agenda and which law proposals to be in the agenda for Parliament discussion without the consent of Jaffar Eminiki, Secretary of Parliament and a member of KDP’s political bureau, which concerned KDP.

The opposition parties consider that period as important and bright, but for KDP it was a time of tensions and obstacles. Therefore, KDP could not stand the round to end and in the midst of the dispute concerning the presidency issue, in October 2015 the party stopped the Speaker of Parliament from returning to office. Not only did KDP closed the parliament door on his face, but also shut the door of Erbil, causing parliament to experience a longstanding paralysis.

Now, by controlling the Parliament Presidency, KDP wants to impose its hegemony and interests on the institutions responsible for legislations and observing government. KDP now manages to pass his proposals and decisions with the help of the components without facing any obstacles by other parties’ protests and pressure.