Kurdistan Government Unifies
The two major Kurdish parties fought a major war with one another 1994-1997, during which Massoud Barzani of the Kurdistan Democratic Party allied with Saddam Hussein and invited Baath tanks up into Irbil and Sulaimaniyah. Later on Barzani and his enemy, Jalal Talabani of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, buried the hatchet. But as the Kurdistan regional government developed, it had a split personality. Kurdistan unification has been a matter of lively debate for the past year, and the Kurds now say they have achieved it.
An observer writes from Iraq:
“Finally, after more than 11 months of discussion, since the election in January, the PUK and KDP merged their two governments. This is the announcement from KurdistanSAT this morning.
Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani will keep his position as Prime Minister and his deputy will be from PUK, but I do not know who it is. The President remains Massoud.
PUK will run the ministries of Human Rights, Interior, Justice, Education, Health, Social Affairs, Water Resources, Transportation, Reconstruction, Planning and Religious Affairs.
KDP will run the ministries of Peshmerga Affairs, Agriculture, Finance, Municipalities, Higher Educating, Electricity, Youth and Sports, Foreign Affairs and Culture.
My understanding is that there are additional and less important ministries which will be given to minority parties. There is a Christian Party of some sort that may be in government, but it looks like the Islamic Kurdish party will be locked out. Surprise, surprise.
The Prime Minister will have a two year term. This is down from five years as announced in the spring, and even more reduced from the ten or fifteen years that Massoud wanted.
The government will be based in Arbil.
I have been told that this finally went through because there is an understanding around the country that Jalal will continue as President.”