KDP/PUK response to the critical report of the four Kurdistani parties
Kurdishaspect.com - Translated by Dr Kamal Mirawdeli
The following is the full texty of KDP and PUK’s formal response to the report of the four parties published on 21 January 2009 on payamner website.
A Clarification to the Public Opinion
After the [long period of the] struggle of our people and huge sacrifices by our parties and loyal and selfless citizens of Kurdistan, a number of national achievements were obtained. And it should not be hidden from anyone that PUK and KDP and other parties of Kurdistani Front sustained the steadfastness and resistance of our people with a sea of blood, they defeated the successive plots of the enemies of our people and defined new styles and methods of struggle in line with the needs of the stages leading the liberation movement of our people and preventing any slackening of the revolutionary resistance.
It is obvious that struggle for a happy and dignified life for all the people of Kurdistan away from usurpation of rights and marginalization aimed at ensuring considerable qualitative changes in all economic, social, administrative and service-delivery aspects.
From the viewpoint of belief in freedom, differences of opinion and ideology, we have tried to open up the arena of Kurdistan and create grounds for pluralism and multi-party politics and starting from this principle a convenient environment for participation in the political process and preventing narrowing down its scope has been established in a legal way. Again from the same belief in diversity of thought and allowing the participation of the majority of the people of Kurdistan we called for elections at the beginning of the great uprising of the people of Kurdistan in 1991 with the Kurdistani Front so that the 'revolutionary legitimacy', obtained as the result of sacrifices of thousands of martyrs, is changed to legal legitimacy and party political power resulting in the elections for parliament and the establishment of Kurdistan Regional Government. This does not mean that the steps or political processes were without mistakes or shortcomings, we have courageously indicated the mistakes and shortcomings then and we will identify the deficiencies and faults in the same way in the future because we believe that only those people and groups do not make mistakes that are inactive and do not have a considerable role in the process of change and progress. But because we have considered ourselves the owners of a legitimate national and patriotic cause we have not been afraid of the problems and obstacles we have met and all our steps have been for the sake of the Kurds and Kurdistan. That is why we have obtained the majority of the votes in the elections and in spite of this we have tried to broaden the base of the government.
On 10 January 2009 four Kurdistan parties presented a report to the public opinion in the Kurdistan region and we found it useful to inform the people of Kurdistan about the aims and reasons of the drafting and publication of the report of the four parties although we were not happy to be drawn into making this response within the context of current situation in Kurdistan:
1. These four political parties and the people of Kurdistan know very well that one of the main foundations of democracy is the idea of democracy and the elections represent its last stage and the elections result in the majority and minority. The winning majority will administer the country in different economic, political, social and cultural areas according to its own ideas and projects for which the people have voted and takes steps according to its own vision and conviction and not according to the projects and vision of those who fail to win the elections. This is not something we have invented but it is the law and rule of all the democratic countries in the world. The four parties have forgotten or deliberately ignored this point hoping that the people of Kurdistan have not attained such degree of understanding this issue. If we had the same approach and vision to life and politics such as the Toilers Party, the Islamic Union, the Socialist Democratic Party and the Islamic Group, then we would get the same level of popular support as they have got.
2. In another part of their report they speak on behalf of the people [of Kurdistan region] and consider themselves their spokesperson. We ask them from where have you got this self-confidence and according to what popular acclaim or authority do you consider yourselves the representatives of people so that you can address the masses of people and portray yourselves as if you were the only groups that care about Kurdistan and without your support it would collapse?
3. The masses of Kurdistan are more conscious that you think and know why you have chosen the current conditions of Kurdistan to publish this report. According to the analysis of these four parties KRG has been put under pressure by the federal government and the regional environment and thus these four parties are in a position to achieve more gains for their parties and force the government to meet their party demands. This report is part of this pressure because many times the heads or secretaries of these parties have travelled and participated in diplomatic efforts as delegates or even head of delegates.
4. If we read this report as a stand, it simply aims for power and it is not an alliance of principles and ideas. Otherwise, how can two secularist parties have the same approach and conviction in political, economic and social areas as two Islamic parties?
5. The timing of the publication of the report and in the manner they did, is no more than a part of their propaganda for [the coming] elections.
6. The nature of their work demonstrates hypocrisy: on the one hand they are participating in the government and on the other they exhibit themselves as Opposition.
7. Each of these parties has participated in the political process from the beginning of the establishment of the KRG or after its establishment. This report is an attempt to claim their innocence of the faults and shortcomings that have taken place in this country in spite of their benefiting from its benefits and pleasures.
8. In the Iraqi political process after the toppling of the previous regime, they participated in all stages from the period of the Governing Council, the drafting of the constitution, elections, and voting for the Constitution. Although in their report they criticise the backward mentality of Iraqi authorities, they still put the sin of failure to solve the [outstanding] problems [with Iraq] on the shoulders of PUK and KDP and they deny all the important and evident role played by the Kurdistan political leadership in the complex ad tension-ridden situation in Iraq and their ability to manage the problems wisely and sustain the negotiations and achieve a large part of [Kurdish] rights within the framework of the permanent [Iraqi] Constitution in the face of the mentality they describe as backward and they consider as weak in terms of the democratic culture.
9. Article 140 was achieved and fixed in the Constitution as a result of the struggle and pressure of Kurdistan political leadership. Our two parties [KDP and PUK] have offered a lot of sacrifices for the sake of that part of our country included in article 140. It is clear who have been defending it. We remember when the problem of article 140 reached a dangerous level and there was pressure from various sides on it, the head of one of these political parties was saying: 'it is not acceptable that we go to the mountains again and it is not right to sacrifice what we have achieved for Kirkuk. We must think of finding alternatives for article 140." Therefore what they say [about article 140 in their report] is no more than an auction bid, otherwise how could the same person go to Cairo and put his signature along with the signatures of mercenaries and traitors against the rights of the Kurds and sign the minutes of that [anti-Kurd] meeting?
10. If we go back to the interviews made by the secretary of one of these four parties, when he was asked about the results of their [last year's] report [memorandum to KDP and PUK], he has answered that a large part of it has been implemented and the rest is waiting implementation. But in this report they say that after one year nothing tangible has been implemented.
11. During the formation of the fifth cabinet [of KRG] our representatives talked to them about their participation, their conditions were these:
a. to have more ministers
b. to have more deputy ministers
c. number of general directors from their parties to be appointed
d. number of district administrators allocated to their parties and
e. increase in the budgets of their parties although some of them were receiving money from four places (sources) in Kurdistan region. They did not have even one single proposal for eliminating shortcomings [of the government] and ensuring services for the people of Kurdistan. They also accepted the project prepared by KRG to be presented to Kurdistan parliament.
12. Each of these parties is participating in government and parliament by ministers and MPs and the four of them are members of the Kurdistan Political Council. If there was no more than one motive for writing their report and presenting it to the public opinion, why didn't they discuss each point of their report in one of these platforms?
13. Political activity in Kurdistan is well organised by law. Political power is constituted by the representatives of those political parties that receive the trust of the majority of the people of Kurdistan through legitimate, legal and democratic ways in the process of the elections. They will manage economic, political, social, cultural and scientific aspects of life according to their vision and approach and through appropriate plans and projects. The opposition will be the groups that receive the minority of votes and popular support. They will be outside the government and struggle in a civil way to increase their share of votes and they will have different vision, approach and projects and the political power will respect them.
14. They talk about human rights. Freedom is a major part of human rights. Have [these four parties] asked how some of them were barriers to the freedoms of the people of Kurdistan in general and of the youth and women in particular? If it is necessary, we will turn over the old pages in this respect.
15. About transparency in the KRG budget, the MPs of their parties had access to Kurdistan budget [draft] like all other parties and have approved it. But it would have been useful if some of them would have declared the financial sources they receive from other countries and have explained for what purpose they were received and how they have been spent.
16. About the constitution of Kurdistan region they are aware that it has been completed and two members of the committee drafting the constitution were leadership members of the Islamic Union and Islamic Group. After receiving the views of all groups and feedback from parties and civil society organisations and experts, the constitution is now in its final completion stage.
17. Kurdistan presidency as a legal institution in the region has been established by a specific law. There is no clause in this law or in the Iraqi Constitution indicating that the region's president should give up his party post during his presidency period. It is noteworthy that President Barzani is carrying out his tasks in a just and impartial way and has special respect to all the political, national and religious figures.
18. About parliament and judiciary power, the report again tries to distort the facts. They pretend to be unaware of the law that has been issued to regulate the judiciary power in which it has clearly been stated that the judiciary power must be independent and non-partisan. And about the next general elections they have shown that they ignorant that Kurdistan parliament has stressed in its meetings that elections must take place in their due time and suggested 19 May 2009 as the date of elections. While these four parties have 18 MPs they should not have lacked information about this.
19. About reform in different areas of KRG and eliminating corruption, several necessary decisions have been made in the meetings of the chairmanship of the three authorities [presidency, government and parliament. Special committees have been formed by KRG which have prepared comprehensive reports in which the shortcomings have been identified. The [four parties'] ministers participated in the committees.
KRG and our two parties share the belief that the experience of the region needs reviewing and the programmes and mechanisms must change in line with the changes and will continuously pursue change and reform in order to eliminate the faults and shortcomings.
We would like to make the people and masses of Kurdistan aware that this report [by the four parties] is an attempt to run away from their responsibilities, an elections' propaganda and an attempt to increase the pressure put on the KRG by other sides.
We would like to assure the loyal and concerned people in Kurdistan that we will continue to exert our efforts to consolidate our achievements and to achieve those aims that have not been achieved yet, to ensure stability, dignity and happiness and create a civil society in which all the individuals in Kurdistan from Kurds, Arabs, Turkomans and Chaldo-Assyrians and from all the classes and strata and profession, Muslims, Christians and Ezidis, will be able to exercise and enjoy their rights.
We reassure the youth, students and women that we will spend all our efforts to achieve their aims and aspirations.
It was appropriate that these four political parties should have followed the democratic principles established in Kurdistan and have taken a much earlier decision to either participate in or withdraw from the government. Concentrating on exposing the deficiencies and flaws is not something new as they have for long persuaded themselves and are trying to persuade others for pure party propaganda. This is not something hidden from us or from the people of Kurdistan. Therefore it is better for them to act boldly and carry out their roles and responsibilities within the government or to stay outside the government and act as the opposition and offer their won specific projects so that the people of Kurdistan would be able to differentiate between the government and the opposition.
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan Kurdistan Democratic Party
21 January 2009