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 PUK leader: Defeat of Nawshirwan's reformist wing was due to vote-rigging by PUK political bureau

 Source : Kurdistan Referendum
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PUK leader: Defeat of Nawshirwan's reformist wing was due to vote-rigging by PUK political bureau  20.9.2007
Translated by Dr Kamal Mirawdeli from Hawlati newspaper, issue 9 Sep 07, p 5

September 20, 2007

Sulaimaniyah, Kurdistan region 'Iraq'

Interview with member of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) leadership Safini Mala Qara: "The defeat of Nawshirwan's wing was due to vote-rigging by the political bureau"

Hawlati interviewed member of PUK leadership Safini Mala Qara on the results of the PUK party elections last year , the failure of the reformist wing of [the deputy leader of PUK] Nawshirwan Mustafa and some other issues.

[Hawlati] At the beginning, what do you think about the elections [last year] for the party centres of PUK?

[Safin Mala Qara] The elections were something new. Although there were negative aspects but the positive side was stronger. The negative aspects were represented by the many violations that happened in the elections. If these had not happened, the elections would have been a very good positive development. We must work to reduce these negative interferences in the future elections.  

Safini Mala Qara, member of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) leadership in Kurdistan region (Iraq)

[Hawlati] Can those who succeeded in the elections participate in the next conference of PUK?

[Safin Mala Qara] No, it is not clear yet whether those who succeeded in the elections would participate in the next conference.

[Hawlati] It is said that the official in charge of the [executive] committee [of PUK} and his two deputes will have right to vote in the conference.

[Safin Mala Qara] This is just one of the suggestions. This includes those who have been elected to the centres’ councils together with the seven members of [the organisation’s] bureaus. Some people will also participate by acclaim. But these are so far only suggestions.

[Hawlati] Only the general secretary of the party [Jalal Talabani] does have right to select people to the conference by acclaim or are there other people too who have this authority?

[Safin Mala Qara] No. This power must belong to the preparatory committee of the conference. They have been given the authority to invite other people to the conference especially those who were part of the old leadership of PUK and were known figures within the leadership of PUK.

[Hawlati] To what extent are you optimistic that in the next conference of the PUK the young people can be elected to the leadership of the party?

[Safin Mala Qara] In fact young people must have new ideas and be able to adapt to the new changes, to all changes in society and political formations. They must spend serious efforts to educate and create themselves. Fortunately these days many doors are open to the young people to utilise their energy and prove their existence in all the political, social and cultural spheres. In relation to the third conference of the PUK I expect that the young people will play a good role and will have a more front bench role. Perhaps in the third conference each of the organisations of women, students and youth will play an effective role and they might select candidates for leadership of the party. This will allow some people to be elected to leadership by the organisations. This will be a new change and I personally support this change that has been demanded by many young people.

[Hawlati] Supporters within PUK have been divided over some figures within the leadership of the party. For example in Hawler (Arbil) people prefer [deputy leader of PUK] Kosrat Rasul. There is some connection between Erbil and Kosrat Rasul?

[Safin Mala Qara] No, I do not see it the way you describe it. Before Kak [honorific] Kosrat joined PUK there were many people inside and outside Erbil who worked PUK members and worked to promote the party.

[Hawlati] It is also said that you are one of the people on the reformist wing of the party and have supported [former deputy leader] Nawshirwan Mustafa?

[Safin Mala Qara] Kak Nawshirwan is one of the old and tired militants of the PUK ranks. Before [becoming PUK deputy leader] he was the secretary of the Kurdistan toilers party (Komala); he has a long history of political and military struggle within PUK ranks. We are proud of his friendship but as political organisation I have no association with Kak Nawshirwan whatsoever.

[Hawlati] But you are associated with his ideas and way of thinking?

[Safi Mala Qara] He had a reformist plan which he presented to the party with the aim of carrying out reforms within the party. I considered t a good plan and supported it because there is no doubt that PUK needs renewal.

[Hawlati] In the recent elections of PUK, large amounts of money were used [to influence the results] As we have known only in Erbil city 400,000 to 500,000 dollars were used for buying votes. As a member of PUK leadership what do you thinking of using money to buy votes?

[Safin Mala Qara] The elections were a good practice in itself but the use of money distorted and damaged the elections. The use of money worked to corrupt party cadres and on the other hand created a lot of injustice because [using money] is a Ba’sthist principle and practice. The many violations and shortcomings that happened in the process of the elections made many people lose faith in elections and not to ask for or participate in them again. I ask that these shortcomings to be corrected and we must ensure that they will never happen again.

[Hawlati] If the reformist wing refused to participate in the conference, how do you see the next PUK conference?

[Safin Mala Qara] I do not think there will be a wing to decide to come to conference and another wing that decided not to attend the conference. The participation will be decided by the people who will be identified for participation.

[Hawlati] Why did the reformist wing of Nawshirwan fail to be elected to the centres’ committees?

[Safin Mala Qara] To explain this is a long story. But I believe it was the interference and vote-rigging by the political bureau in the elections which created these results. It had been agreed that the political bureau would in no way interfere in the process of the elections, but unfortunately they used the finances of the PUK and the media of PUK to serve their own interests and this was contrary to the principles agreed for the elections.

[Hawlati] In the elections the wing of Kosrat Rasul obtained a considerable number share of votes, does not this mean popular support for Kosrat Rsaul especially in Erbil?

[Safin Mala Qara] No it is not necessarily so. It is more support for PUK rather than Kosrat Rsaul and the reality was not as presented by newspapers and media channels. But inside the city of Erbil, yes his own personality had a role but all people know how the elections were conducted.

- Translated by Dr Kamal Mirawdeli from Hawlati, Sulaimaniyah, biweekly independent newspaper in Sorani Kurdish, 9 Sep 07, p 5

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