Fight for reform in Kurdistan Region ‘harder’ than against terror, says MP

Says economic situation difficult for many young people
Head of Kurdistan Islamic Union caucus in the Kurdistan Parliament Sherko Jawdat speaks during NRT's Tawtwe interview program, December 13, 2019.

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SULAIMANI — Head of the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) caucus in the Kurdistan Parliament Sherko Jawdat has said that the fight of reform in the Kurdistan Region is “harder” than the fight against terror.

Speaking to NRT’s Tawtwe interview program on Friday (December 13), Jawdat alleged that the drafting process of the recently announced pension and salary reform bill had revealed dozens of instances of corruption by government officials.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Council of Ministers unanimously approved the bill on Thursday and sent it to the Kurdistan Parliament, which will finish the first reading of the bill on Monday.

“The fight against corruption is harder than the fights against terror. And the fight for reform is harder than the fight against corruption and terror,” the head of KIU caucus said.

Jawdat pointed out that tens of thousands of students graduate every year, but are unable to find sufficient work in either the public or private sectors.

“Look at the condition of markets, look at the investment, look at the movement of trade … We all know what situation the rule of law is in, the killings, attacks on journalism, rights, freedom, et cetera,” he said.

“These are economic measures that tell us that [the Region] is in a very difficult situation,” he added.

“Therefore, reform is obligatory,” he said, arguing that the situation in the Region would not be stable if the KRG did not accomplish far-reaching reforms.

For many years, transparency organizations, lawmakers, and international organizations have accused senior KRG officials of corruption, especially with regard to expropriation of the Region's oil income. The government has long promised action to combat graft, but has never made much headway.

There have been few, if any, high-level corruption prosecutions resulting in substantive penalties recently that would back up KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani's assertions of progress against systemic abuse.

(NRT Digital Media)