ERBIL (24th Kurdistan) – Ali Awni, a member of the leadership council of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), believes the Kurds are staying out of post-election disputes between influential Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr and Iranian-backed politicians should parties that reject the election result.
“The formation of the (next) Iraqi government has entered a dark phase,” Awni told Kurdistan on Wednesday 24.
“I think if a government is formed in the current situation, it won’t last long and fall another time, especially after the opposition (the losers of the election) protested (the results).”
A political alliance led by Muqtada al-Sadr, a self-proclaimed populist Shiite leader, came first in the October 10 vote. But pro-Iranian parties lost many of their parliamentary seats in the elections, particularly the Fatah Alliance.
They accused the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) of fraud, rejected the results and organized protests in Baghdad. This has led to fears that tensions between Sadr and other factions could escalate and lead to more instability.
Awni pointed out that in late 2019 widespread protests also toppled Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi, who was replaced by current Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in May 2020.
“If the United States and Iran agree to give Sadr the chance to form the next government, the opposition will threaten it,” he said. “They will not allow this government to succeed. And if they do not allow Sadr to form a government, Sadr will try to undermine the government.”
“It is better for us Kurds not to intervene in this matter,” he said. “We should see which party will settle and form the largest bloc.”
In the controversial Iraqi elections in 2010, Ayad Allawi competed against the then Iranian Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and won more seats. Nevertheless, Maliki was finally able to secure the office of prime minister. Allawi accused Tehran of interfering in the election results.
“Ayad Allawi had the biggest bloc, but they found a legal ploy and didn’t let it form the government. Ibrahim Jaafari and Maliki took it from him,” said Awni. “That was a bad model and now there is Sadr (election victory). Perhaps outside forces will not accept him to form a government and that will be a big problem for Iraq.”
Continue reading: Ayad Allawi: “No suitable electoral environment in Iraq”
Awni said the problem is that Iraqi politicians do not care about stability, they only care about their shares in the government.
“This led to corruption and instability in the country and the system,” he said.
Awni also said the Kurds should form a coalition in the Iraqi parliament. However, he mentioned that some Kurdish parties are already refusing to participate in the government, such as the Islamic Union of Kurdistan, New Generation and the Kurdistan Justice Group led by Ali Bapir.
However, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the KDP are not against joining the government.
“All efforts of the PDK are (focused on) the KDP and the PUK as a Kurdish bloc in the Iraqi parliament, even if compromises are needed,” said Awni.
He welcomed the messages from PUK co-chairman Bafel Talabani about Kurdish unity. Talabani met PDP President Masoud Barzani at a rare meeting last week.
Continue reading: KDP leader and PUK co-chairman talk about Kurdish unity in a rare meeting
He also expressed his hope that the situation will not be repeated in the past when some Kurdish parties “began to oppose the interests of the Kurdistan Region” on behalf of the opposition.
“We hope we don’t get into such a situation,” he said.
The senior Kurdish official also said that the Kurdish youth who tried to enter Europe from Belarus have been victims of smugglers and human traffickers.
“They have become a toy in the political conflict between Belarus and Poland,” said Awni.
On Thursday, over 400 Kurds arrived in the Kurdistan region on a flight from Belarus. However, hundreds of Kurdish migrants who want to emigrate to Europe are still stuck in Belarus.
Continue reading: Migrants returning to Kurdistan from the Belarusian border say they saw no opportunity to enter EU countries
“In reality, Kurdistan is safe,” said Awni. “But everyone is looking for a better life, and life in Europe (compared to Kurdistan) is better.”