KDP, PUK rift deepens amidst Federal Court rulings dispute

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region – Conflicts have escalated between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the two main ruling parties of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), amidst the recent rulings issued by the Iraqi Federal Court. The highest levels of tension are evident within the ministerial teams of the two parties within the KRG.

On Friday, Bafel Talabani, President of the PUK, announced his support for the latest rulings of the Federal Court, describing it as an independent and proficient court that plays an active role in safeguarding Iraq’s political system.

“While we reaffirm our support for the rulings of the Federal Court and its vital role in safeguarding the constitution, justice, and democratic principles, we vehemently denounce any acts of defamation or mistreatment directed towards the Federal Supreme Court” Talabani said in a statement.

The Court’s rulings notably include the removal of the 11 quota seats reserved for minorities, reducing the number of Kurdistan Parliament’s seats to 100. This decision was based on a PUK compliant, while the KDP was against it. Additionally, the rulings entail the direct allocation of salaries to the Region’s civil servants from Baghdad through federal banks.

In reaction to Talabani’s remarks, Peshawa Hawramani, the spokesperson for the KRG and also a member of the KDP ministerial team, issued a strong statement.

Describing it as a court lacking constitutional and federal legitimacy, Hawramani asserted that Iraq lacks a constitutional court, and the current court exercises its authority in an “unconstitutional” manner. He further contended that its judgments are both “illegal and unconstitutional.”

“Those backing this court from within Kurdistan do so because it serves their interests and renders unconstitutional rulings.  However, the Kurdish populace should be aware that traitors do not care about the extent of constitutional rights they lose” Hawramani stated.

“It is imperative for the people of Kurdistan to adopt a resolute stance against those who betray the land and the rights.”

However, Samir Hawrami, spokesperson for Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, who is also from the PUK ministerial team, rebutted Hawramani’s remarks, stating that the KRG has never had, and currently does not have, a spokesperson.

Hawrami stated, “The person speaking on behalf of the government spokesman is merely expressing the views of himself and his ministerial team, so what he said has no connection to the PUK.”

“Rather than resorting to making statements and accusations, it would have been more beneficial for all parties to collaborate towards resolving the issues and safeguarding the rights of the civil servants.”

In a separate statement, KRG spokesperson responded to Hawrami’s comments, asserting that the issue with civil servants’ salaries wouldn’t have arisen if Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani hadn’t requested one of the party’s ministers in the Iraqi government to pursue direct payments of Sulaimani’s civil servants from Baghdad, thereby bypassing the KRG.

“Certainly, after causing great suffering to our nation, they refuse to acknowledge their mistake and disregard the government spokesman’s words. They did not align with their defiance of government decisions, and their allegiance seemed more aligned with decisions against our nation rather than in service to our people and nation” Hawramani stated.

The discord between the Kurdistan Region’s two primary ruling parties arises amidst the backdrop of a financial crisis and a cessation of oil exports since the previous year.

Over the past six months, civil servants in the Region have received only their January salaries. Despite the federal government disbursing February wages, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has not distributed these salaries, citing insufficient funds from Baghdad. However, PUK spokesperson Saadi Pira previously stated that the PUK ministerial team showed a preference for paying February salaries, indirectly implicating the KDP’s ministerial team.

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