Barham Salih to serve as Kurdistan PM
Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — The Kurdistan region’s
embattled Prime Minister Barham Salih will remain in
office for two more years and enjoys the Kurdistan
Democratic Party’s support, a source has told Rudaw.
An official source who spoke on condition of
anonymity said the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP),
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and three
opposition parties agreed that Salih will continue
to serve as prime minister until 2013.
While there are no official term limits in Iraqi
Kurdistan, under a PUK-KDP agreement, Kurdistan’s
the ruling parties should swap the prime minister
and parliamentary speaker posts every two years.
However, the source said that because former Prime
Minister Nechirvan Barzani of the KDP served for
four years, Salih, a PUK leader who has served as
premier since September 2009, will remain in office
for the same amount of time.
Dr Barham Salih, Kurdistan region premier.
While other top leaders denied the claim, the
development would be a political triumph for Salih,
who has faced a tough term marked by unprecedented
protests in Sulaimani province, the emergence of the
region’s first major opposition party and
speculation that he did not enjoy the powerful KDP’s
“Whether or not the talks with the opposition will
yield any change in the formation of the current
government, the KDP supports Barham Salih to remain
as the head of KRG,” the source said.
In an apparent attempt to quash speculation that the
KDP might take over the premiership, Barzani told
the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Alawsat last week, “We
are confident that we have placed the KRG in good
The former prime minister said PUK and KDP “have a
brotherly relationship with each other and I believe
the issues that I could not settle during my term as
the leader of the KRG will be solved by him [Salih].”
Last month, a member of KDP’s leadership council
told Rudaw that some council members believed the
KDP should lead the government when Salih’s term
ends in September 2011, but that no decision had
been made yet.
In his Asharq Alawsat interview, Barzani dismissed
those claims as rumors.
“We have not officially discussed this matter,” he
said. “But whenever it comes up, we will evaluate
the performance of the current government and take
the right decision in the interest of our nation and
of Iraqi Kurdistan.”
However, senior PUK leader, Imad Ahmed, told Rudaw,
“Until now we have not been informed about a term
being extended for the head of the KRG for two
years, and whether [the premiership] will be given
to the PUK or not.”
Ahmed said the PUK had not even discussed the issue
internally, but that “The PUK’s candidate for any
future KRG premiership is Barham Salih.”
Jafar Ibrahim, member of KDP’s politburo, told Rudaw,
“Until now changing, extending or forming a
broad-based government has not been discussed
between the PUK and KDP and what has been said in
this regard is only speculation.”
Ibrahim, who participated in the five-party talks,
added, “The common principle between all the five
parties is that the opposition will take part in the
talks are still going on regarding the nature of
Sadi Ahmed Pira, member of PUK politburo and PUK
representative in the five-party talks, said in an
interview with Zagros TV that the opposition tried
to frame Salih’s government as a failed one.
“But the government is not a failure and it is
carrying out its duties,” said Pira, who maintained
that Salih enjoys wide public support.
Pira also told Rudaw that in the past two rounds of
talks with the opposition, there has been no talk
about the post of the prime minister.
“But we have talked about the formation of a
broad-based government which we hope the opposition
will participate in,” Pira said.
The opposition parties are demanding a transitional
government be formed until controversial laws on
elections and local governments are amended.
Latif Sheik Omer, representative of Iraqi
Kurdistan’s presidency in Sulaimani said, “The PUK
and KDP now are waiting for the results of the
five-party talks, in order to have a clear picture
of the roadmap. In the meantime the wheel of reform
in the government has begun to turn.”
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