KDP vetoed PUK’s picks for Kirkuk governor: Ala Talabani

Says she is PUK MP, not Baghdad Coalition
Ala Talabani speaks to NRT's Tawtwe interview program on March 12, 2019 (NRT Digital Media)

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SULAIMANI — Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) lawmaker Ala Talabani said Tuesday (March 12) that the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) has vetoed the party’s picks for Kirkuk governor.

Speaking to NRT’s Tawtwe interview program, Talabani said that the PUK and KDP were unable to reach an agreement about who to run for governor during a meeting earlier on Tuesday.

The PUK and the KDP recently signed an agreement that reportedly involved an understanding regarding the Kirkuk governorship, which had been a persistent sticking point in the government formation process.

Since then there has been little public progress toward announcing either a new cabinet or a jointly-supported nominee for the governorship.

Talabani is a former head of the PUK’s caucus in the Council of Representatives, but ran as a part of former Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani's Baghdad Coalition in last May’s election, During the interview, she said that she had rejoined the PUK, but did not say when the switch had taken place.

“I am a lawmaker of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan caucus in the Iraqi Council of Representatives,” she said.

She also addressed several specific issues about the status of Kirkuk.

“To the PUK, Kirkuk is not an invaded city. There is no meaning when the Kurdistan Democratic Party describes Kirkuk as invaded, but then makes deals with the Popular Mobilization Units in Baghdad,” she said, implying that the KDP was acting hypocritically by working with Shia parties at the federal level.

Talabani also said that it was impossible to talk about implementing Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution, which outlines a process for normalizing the status of Kirkuk, and that the PUK should find other solutions other than those contained within it.

She also criticized the push by some Kurdish leaders to hold the independence referendum in the disputed areas.

“Attempts were made intentionally to manipulate the situation in Kirkuk. We were screaming: ‘Please do not hold referendum in Kirkuk, because it will cause damage.”

(NRT Digital Media)

This story was updated to correct the list on which Talabani ran during the 2018 parliamentary election.