PUK: Disunity of Leaders Results in Crumbling Party
Kurdishaspect.com - By Mufid Abdulla
Many people believe that the PUK organisation was originally set up in 1975 as a semi-front for all different factions inside Kurdistan, including Marxist, nationalist and conservatives, which has been running as such ever since. However, this front has never been a success due to its lack of reflecting the reality of Kurdish society at different points in time. Therefore, these days the term ‘conflict’ is immediately associated with the PUK and similarly the name PUK reflects conflict.
The biggest shake up to the party came when Nawshirwan Mustafa resigned from the party in December 2006 and set up his own organisation to combat the wide corruption and nepotism outside the KRG. The impact of this action has been so extensive that you can see the PUK has almost lost their main identity with the result that there are now only a few members left as a politburo board. Most people who have seen them on TV have noted what appears to be reminiscent to Saddam’s revolutionary council.
The third waive is upcoming as the Kurdish election approaches on the 25 July 2009. The feelings of anger and disunity amongst the PUK leaders are very obvious and this is just the beginning of something that cannot even be described as a process, so unpredictable and violent has it become. PUK leader, Jalal Talabani, has been calculating each move and measuring the political advantage of Nawshirwan Mustafa’s list; a concern which is reflected in the PUK’s ongoing surge of campaigns which it is evident, have not been running entirely smoothly. The PUK leadership has clearly been attempting to work out how to purge any members from the party ranks who have sympathy with The Change’s list which is fronted by Nawshirwan Mustafa. There is a huge sense of support and solidarity amongst any people who are not associated with the KDP/PUK list. Over the last five days there have been a thousand members who have been expelled from the PUK in Sulaymaniyah and Kalar for their support to Nawshirwan Mustafa. To me this shines of the death of the PUK and their organisation.
The mass of people in the south of Kurdistan are not confused but adamant about what they want. The principle question they are asking is who will be the person to lead us out of this current situation; this corruption, the extent of which means we have the budget of Jordan and other neighbouring countries but still people are poor and there is no proper infrastructure in place. With regard to these questions, no one has yet come forward with the winning answer. Therefore, public involvement in this election must be the very beginning, not the end of the process.
The main figures inside this election campaign are Mala Bakhtyar and Arsalan Baiz, both are PUK politburo members who have been campaigning in a very ugly and unprecedented manner, which in effect comprise the key ingredients for corruption. Kosrat Rasul, another politburo member, has so far been between two camps, with one half of his heart lying with the army struggle and his comrades, whilst the other half lies with PUK leader Talabani. However, most people believe Rasul has not yet made up his mind and according to his interview last week with the Al Sharq Al Awsat newspaper, he is not happy with the Talabani leadership and has declared his disagreement that the post of Presidency and premiership returns to the KDP again.
Finally, the PUK unity is crumbling as the election date gets ever closer. The efforts of the PUK leadership to restore its unity and tarnished reputation are stalling. The mass of people in the south of Kurdistan have been appalled by the scale of the greed and banality of local leaders revealed by local papers over the past few years. None of the culprits, i.e. the corruptive leaders, have been brought to justice, in fact none of them are experiencing any disciplinary action at all. Instead, we are being presented with a fix of typical leaders. Until the time that we see real changes starting to happen, the achievement of which this upcoming election holds paramount importance, the KDP/PUK will be seen as damaged goods and as a result will not command any public respect and instead continue to instil anger amongst our Kurdish nation.