Final round of government formation talks to begin soon: KDP official

Head of KDP Foreign Relations Hoshyar Siwayli

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SULAIMANI — A final round of government formation talks will begin in the near future, an official from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) has said.

Head of KDP Foreign Relations Hoshyar Siwayli said during a meeting with Bulgaria’s Charge d’Affaires to Iraq Plamen Hristov on Wednesday (April 17) that the parties were “very close” in their views on the government formation.

“A final round of talks on the formation of a new cabinet will resume in the near future and the new cabinet for Kurdistan’s service will be formed soon,” he added.

200 days have passed since the Kurdistan Region's parliamentary election on September 30, but a new government has not yet been formed despite more than a dozen rounds of talks between the parties.

The key dispute at the moment appears to be an impasse over the vice presidency.

Spokesperson for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Latif Sheikh Omer said on Wednesday that the KDP had so far failed to convince the Change Movement (Gorran) to form a government that includes the Kurdistan Region's three largest parties.

In an apparent hardening of the party's stance, he added that the PUK opposed a second vice president position held by Gorran.

Earlier this month, PUK officials began objecting to the vice presidency being held by a Gorran official because it felt that the latter party should not have responsibility over security policy and Peshmerga reform.

Gorran had been promised the post by the KDP in the political agreement between the two in February.

The idea was floated that a second vice presidency be created. On Monday, Voice of America published an interview with PUK Politburo member Saadi Ahmed Pira, who hinted that the matter had been settled and that the PUK would hold the first vice president post.

Sheikh Omer's comments appear to suggest the party is no longer interested in creating a second position, but will instead demand the single position for itself.

For its part, Gorran has said that the KDP and the PUK should not have sole responsibility for security affairs, suggesting that it is willing to give up the vice presidency in exchange for the Peshmerga Affairs Ministry.

KDP Politburo Secretary-General Fazil Mirani said on Monday that the issue of the Kurdistan Region's presidency would be settled in the near future and that the KDP would reach an agreement with the other political parties.

(NRT Digital Media)