A major reshuffle of senior positions is coming to the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). The decision was made in a meeting of the highest executive body of the party on Wednesday and will take effect “in the coming days.”
The party also discussed relations between Erbil and Baghdad, with independence topping the Kurdish agenda, in light of the recent visit to the Kurdish capital by a senior Shiite delegation headed by Ammar al-Hakim.
The reshuffle, is expected to affect more than a dozen positions within the party and comes at a time when the party has not been able to hold its 14th congress. The KDP’s congress should take place every four years in normal circumstances; the last was in December 2010 in Erbil.
Mahmood Mohamad, the KDP’s spokesperson, declined to provide the affected positions because “the list is long,” he said in a press conference following the meeting. The changes will take place “in the coming days,” he confirmed.
The party had asked several committees to “study and prepare” reports to make changes in party positions, something described as a “normal procedure” by Mohamad.
It was then presented to the executive in Wednesday’s hours-long meeting.
“It was seen as necessary to make some internal changes in some positions,” Mohamad said. “Some who were seen successful were repositioned in other positions where they can do good work there as well. And for some of our colleagues, maybe it is better for them to work elsewhere. And thus these changes and repositioning have been done and will be implemented in the next coming days.”
The changes will mainly be in Erbil and Duhok, Mohamad added, where the party enjoys large support from the population, and Kirkuk where it has performed poorly compared to its rival the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
There are no indication as of yet that the changes would affect senior roles that are above the heads of the party’s branches or offices.
The Council of Leadership, the highest executive body within the party, may take a decision in the future regarding other positions which are held by elected “staff” at the party’s branches, the spokesperson said.
Regarding Kurdistan Region’s relations with Baghdad, especially after Hakim's visit to Erbil this week, Mohamad said they seek to “re-establish relations between Kurdistan Region and Baghdad,” based on new developments in Iraq.
The principle of consensus, which governed relations between the different political parties and “the new Iraq,” is non-existent anymore, the KDP said in a statement published following Wednesday’s executive meeting.
“The meeting saw this action as going back to the practice of the past successive [Iraqi] governments which is not in the interest of the components” read the statement. “This is merely in the interest of one particular party. This needs to be revised in such a way to serve the interests of all the components.”
The KDP has said in the recent years that the federal system which formulates Erbil-Baghdad relations has failed, and therefore it is calling for independence or a new form of relations that give Kurdistan more of a say in running its own affairs.
The issue of independence was discussed in “clear terms” with the Shiite delegation, Mohamad said, also confirming that two political and governmental committees from Kurdistan will visit Baghdad to discuss the relations between both sides.
“Above all independence,” he noted.
He said the meeting also discussed “plans and plots” against Kurdistan by “our enemies,” without naming names or clarifying whether he was referring to domestic or external parties.
Regarding the KDP’s relations with other Kurdish parties, in light of the political deadlock ongoing since 2015, he said the KDP will continue its talks in the coming week, for now with the PUK, with whom the KDP has a strategic agreement.
Mohamad said Kurdish parties need to form a “new organization of the Kurdistan house,” which takes into consideration the new developments, Kurdistan’s place in the region, and as member of the international coalition against ISIS.
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