Tension in Iraqi Kurdistan over Egypt
Tracey Shelton, Press TV, Sulaimaniyah, Iraqi
February 16, 2011
Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Egyptian protests that
ended a 30-year autocratic rule by Hosni Mubarak
have sparked calls for political change in Iraqi
Kurdistan and inspired renewed tension between the
dominant parties in the semi-autonomous region.
Iraqi Kurdistan's major opposition party Gorran,
meaning change in Kurdish, has called for the
immediate dissolution of the Kurdish Regional
Government. At the height of the Egyptian protests,
Gorran released a statement saying, “the day of
demise of dictatorial and despotic regimes has come
to an end”.
A war of words has ensued with the two dominant
ruling parties, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)
led by Jalal Talabani, and the Kurdistan Democratic
Party (KDP), led by Massoud Barzani, accusing Goran
of attempting to destabilize the region.
Video: English - Tracey Shelton. presstv.ir
Jondyani said they congratulate the people of Egypt
for the peaceful result of their protests, but the
situation in Kurdistan Region of Iraq cannot be
compared to the one-party rule under Mubarak that
did not respect the will of the people. Although
acknowledging the need for political reform within
the KRG, he said the PUK are bringing reform step by
Gorran party spokesman Mohammed Tawfiq disagreed
saying serious reform needs to take place
immediately and the results in Egypt only add to the
After government tanks surrounded the Gorran party
headquarters Tawfiq said the strong reaction came as
no surprise. Having a strong opposition party is a
new situation for the ruling parties and one they
find “hard to digest”, he said.
The PUK say if Gorran apologize for their actions
they will be happy to meet for discussions. But as
the calls for revolution continue on Gorran's
television network,www.ekurd.netJondyani says the PUK along with
other parties will continue to monitor the situation
and react when the time comes.
Gorran enjoys wide support in Kurdistan region.
Gorran emerged in regional elections in 2009 as a
rival to the two main ruling Kurdish parties and won
25 seats in the parliament. Gorran is challenging
Talabani's PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan), and
the KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party), of regional
president Massoud Barzani and accuses the parties of
corruption. It’s headed by the former senior PUK-leader
Nawshirwan Mustafa, who was Talabani’s deputy until
2007. Since the July 2009 elections in which it
secured almost a third of the seats of 111-member
Parliament of Kurdistan.
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