Posted on September 2, 2016 by Editorial Staff in Politics
PUK deputies Barham Salih (R) talks to Kosrat Rasul Ali, Sulaimani, Iraqi Kurdistan. Photo: Rudaw
SULAIMANI, Iraq’s Kurdistan region,— Two deputies of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in Iraqi Kurdistan, denouncing what they describe as a group acting unethically within the party, have announced the establishment of a decision-making body and any decisions made outside of this core will not be recognized.
Kosrat Rassul Ali, first deputy of the PUK, and Barham Salih, second deputy, two of the senior PUK leadership made the announcement in a message backed by several members of the PUK politburo, leadership committee, and MPs.
They accuse a group inside the PUK of controlling the party, saying, “We waited for too long and were patient. But this group directly and indirectly is increasingly participating in harmful policies, taking public wealth, cutting the salaries of the people and the Peshmerga. In Erbil, they are part of the cabinet and receive oil bonuses. But when they are in Sulaimani, they are critical and unsatisfied,” reads the statement.
“We will no longer be silent. We have decided that, until the PUK congress is held, we establish a decision-making body. No decision will be recognized or considered legitimate if made outside of this body.”
Full text of the declaration from the newly-formed PUK’s decision-making body:
Dear PUK Members, relatives of Martyrs, honorable Peshmerga, people of Kurdistan:
At a time when the Kurdistan Region faces political and economic crises, a threat from ISIS, and upcoming changes in the region, people are suffering from hardships and no salaries. Instead of planning to solve these problems and reform the PUK, because of a controlling group within the party, the PUK, instead of having a program for justice and rebuilding, has become an isolated party, ignorant of the people’s demands. The controlling group is busy with secret oil deals and taking public wealth from the people.
To protect their interests, this group crossed Talabani’s (Mam Jalal) school. There is no value left in the political decisions in any PUK institutions, including the politburo and leadership.
To respect Talabani (Mam Jalal), relatives of the martyrs, Peshmerga forces, and for the sake of the PUK’s future and Kurdistan in general, we did not want the disputes to escalate and we wanted to solve the problems without tension or splits. But unfortunately, after all our patience, and despite the efforts of friends from inside and outside of Kurdistan, we see this group within the PUK directly and indirectly increasingly taking part in harmful policies, taking public wealth, cutting the salaries of the people and the Peshmerga. Controversially they are trying to deceive the public. In Erbil they are party to the government, politics, and oil “bonuses” and decisions. But when they are in Sulaimani, they are critical and unsatisfied.
Internally at the PUK, day-by-day pieces are breaking away, disorganized. They control cadres, isolate groups within the party, violate bylaws, plan to deceive the congress and eradicate the will of the original members of the PUK. They recruit their relatives into party and government, and try to expel good members. And to implement this immoral goal, they are opportunist. Without any care, they use Mam Jalal’s name and his position.
Despite all that, in response to our long patience, this group in the past has established shadow leadership and organs in all areas to manage and direct the PUK to their interests. They plan against the will of PUK members and isolate legitimate PUK positions.
Therefore, as followers of Talabani’s approach and faithful to the PUK, we cannot remain silent anymore in the face of violation of the bylaws, usurping within the party, isolating the PUK in the region, and failing to address the crises. We cannot let 41 years of PUK history rest in the hands of this group who use it against Mam Jalal’s “bouquet of flowers” and turn the PUK from a revolutionary party defending the peoples’ interests into a family party, taking peoples’ wealth and cutting their salaries.
We still support solving the PUK crises in the interest of unity of the party, and reorganizing within Talabani’s “bouquet of flowers” policy to take the brave decision to solve the people’s problems, provide salaries, prevent theft of public wealth, fight against corruption and control of markets, solve the region’s political deadlock including the Kurdistan presidency issue, and respect democratic and legitimate institutions, especially the Kurdish parliament. We emphasize that we do not exclude ourselves from mistakes and shortcomings. Each one, according to our work and position, are responsible for this situation. But we mean to plan for the present and the future by establishing a legitimate decision-making body in the PUK in order to actively participate in solving the crises of our people.
For the sake of the PUK, to protect its achievements, for the Peshmerga and relatives of martyrs, to help solve the people’s problems, we have decided to take the following steps:
1. Until we can make decisions to manage the PUK crises via the legitimate congress far from frauds and the intervention of security agencies, we announce the formation of the PUK decision-making body. From now on, no decision will be recognized or considered legitimate if made outside of this body. Both within the PUK and publicly, we will consider decisions made outside this body as illegitimate.
2. Until the Peshmerga are unified under the Kurdistan Regional Government cabinet, all the PUK armed forces shall return to general Peshmerga command and will be led by this command.
Because the Peshmerga fight for our dignity and to protect our lives, we shall do our best to improve the situation for the Peshmerga.
3. We will prepare for a legitimate and clean PUK congress without fraud. We also dismiss all those decisions and regulations that lead to twisting and controlling PUK bodies and ignore the real cadres. In order to prepare the PUK for the future and to renew it, women and youth shall have active participation in the decision-making process.
4. PUK finances from every office shall be collected transparently by the PUK finance bureau, and will be used in the interests of the PUK and its bodies.
5. We are committed to implementing the agreement between the PUK and Gorran, developing the agreement practically to reorganize and unify the party with old and original members, and we will take efforts to unify the Kurdish house.
6. The PUK and KDP agreement was to move past the civil war stage. It led to great achievements for the Kurdish people. Today, of course, relations between the PUK and the KDP are important and have impact on the political and security situation. For the sake of security and stability, we have to review this relationship towards balance and overcoming the deadlock in the region.
7. The government now faces crisis after crisis. Therefore we need to review the structure and policies in order to find solutions, pay salaries, and bring back trust. We will look to create real transparency in financial matters and expenditures, especially with respect to oil.
8. We are committed to self-determination, and we respect the people’s decision on the independence of the Kurdish state, which is not something to be politically disputed.
9. There should be serious efforts to solve issues with Baghdad, return disputed areas to Kurdistan, and avoid policies that seek to divide Kurdistan on the agenda and programs of regional and world countries.
We announce that, through this body, we will work with the parties and Kurdish politicians to establish a broad coalition for the sake of democracy, justice, and to develop a wide-reaching reform program to provide essential solutions to the political, governance, and economic systems of Kurdistan.
Our message to members and PUK supporters, all persons in bureaus, offices and PUK agencies, PUK parliamentarian blocs in the Kurdistan and Iraqi parliaments and provincial councils, and relatives of martyrs, is that far from creating tension, we ask that you democratically support this body of the PUK to revive the party and preserve Mam Jalal’s “bouquet of flowers” to solve the crises and reduce the difficulties of you, the people. We emphasize this is for the sake of the PUK, toward a legitimate congress.
For the sake of solving your problems, support our decision. We will ensure your interests, your wealth, children, life and dignity. We have no other aim than that. Because of the harmful policies, distortions and ignoring crises one after another, you worry not only for your future but also for your monthly salary. Under these policies and system of governance that were obviously involved in corruption, both achievements and opportunities are under threat. To end this injustice and anxiety, support our program and project.