Iraq's divided Parliament failed on Saturday to elect the country’s next president, extending a six-month political deadlock after national elections in October.
Based on the Federal Supreme Court ruling, a quorum of two-thirds of members of Parliament is needed to hold the vote, but only 202 of the required 220 MPs attended the session.
Shortly after starting the session, Speaker Mohammed Al Halbousi announced that Parliament would reconvene on Wednesday to elect the president.
Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) reports the above. I thought the vote was supposed to be held Friday, by the way. I am not surprised that -- whether Friday or Saturday -- no vote took place. That was rather obvious as the PUK sent a delegation to Baghdad late Thursday with the intent of lobbying other MPs to hold out their votes. The vote in February didn't take place because less than two-thirds of the members of Parliament were present. Guess what? Same thing on this vote. (The Parliament has 329 members and only 202 showed.) MIDDLE EAST EYE notes, "The boycott by the Coordination Framework, which includes the pro-Iran Fatah Alliance - the political arm of the former paramilitary group Hashed al-Shaabi - appears to have again sunk hopes of a quick resolution." The PUK wants the presidency. They currently hold it despite the fact that the PUK has been sinking steadily in the Kurdistan Region since 2012. By custom, the office of president has gone to the Kurds. The PUK was once a dominant party in the region and competed with the KDP. It has fallen into disrepute over the last ten or so years for a number of reasons.
For years, Jalal Talabani led the PUK. The Talabani family still leads it which is probably why it's in such shabby state. The current president (hopefully outgoing) is Barham Saleh and he is a member of the PUK (and he and the PUK want him to have another term as president). The Talabnais broke off with the KDP in 1975 and founded the PUK. At one point, it might have seemed Jalal and his family knew what they were doing; however, they were repeatedly tricked by the US government -- to the point that they appeared to be working with the US government to deny Kurds a Kurdish homeland. By the time the Iraq War started, many were fed up with Talabani and the PUK and he continued to anger.
Dropping back to March 16, 2009:
The president of Iraq is Jalal Talabani who announced over the weekend (Friday to Iran's Press TV, actually) that he would not be seeking another term (his term expires in December of this year -- provided elections are held). Talabani has serious heart problems (compounded by the fact that he refuses to listen to doctor's orders -- leading to the infamous collapse at a US bookstore hours after being released from doctor's care). Alsumaria reports Talabani is in Turkey today for a conference on water and has already "met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the presence of South Korean Prime Minister." AFP notes the conference is held every three years and is more 'timely' this year following the United Nation's report (published last week) declaring a "global water crisis". AFP states approximately "20,000 people are expecte for the Fifth World Water Forum" while is a week-long conference. DPA adds, "In addition to discussions on how to stop Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) militants from using their bases in mountainous northern Iraq from where they launch attacks on Turkey proper, Talabani and Erdogan also discussed bilateral economic issues and the Middle East peace process."
Meanwhile Hurriyet reports:
Talabani told a Turkish newspaper in an interview published on Monday that it would not be realistic to believe that an independent Kurdish state could survive as it is likely that neighboring countries Turkey, Iran and Syria would close their borders.
tell my Turkish brothers not to fear that Kurds will declare
independence. It is an advantage for Kurds to stay within the borders of
Iraq in terms of their economic, cultural, social and political interests," he told in the interview.
Fat Ass Jalal was nothing but a liar. In 2009, he said he wouldn't seek another term. But he did. Of course, we also have that crap about "just a dream written in poetry."
Fat Ass got rich off betraying the Kurdish people. He used his power for profit and enriched himself (and his family) while allowing the Kurdish dream of independence to wither. The Kurds remain the largest ethnic group in the world without a homeland. Jalal did his part to ensure that reality.
The Talabani's next big betrayal? In 2012, Iraqi politicians came together. Religion was not an issue, sect was not an issue, politic were not an issue, various people came together and did so to hold a no-confidence vote on then-prime minister Nouri al-Maliki for not implementing The Erbil Agreement (the contract that the US brokered with Iraqi political powers to give Nouri a second term after Iraqis went to the voting booths in 2010 to say no). Ayad Allawi, Moqtada al-Sadr, Mustafa Barzani, Ammar al-Hakim . . . All came together to move for a no-confidence vote and they followed the Iraqi Constitution and gathered the needed signatures. As president, Jalal's ceremonial role was to read the resolution into the record. That's all. Under pressure from his friend Vice President Joe Biden, Jalal created powers. Jalal insisted he had to verify every signature.
But that alone wouldn't overturn the petition. So he also created the power for himself to ask each signer whether they would still sign the petition if it was put to them today? Not did you sign, but would you sign again?
There's no such option in politics when it comes to a petition. You sign for a local stop sign, the local government doesn't come to you and ask you, "Would you still sign that today?"
Jalal announced that there were not enough signatures.
Really? Because they got more than the needed signatures. So who was saying they wouldn't sign? Oh, that was private information, information that Fat Ass Jalal had to keep private.
Most called him a liar on that. Sensing the rising anger, Jalal fled the country claiming he had to have emergency surgery.
He had elective knee surgery in Germany.
Liars get what they have coming. In the spring of 2012, he lied that he had to flee to Germany for emergency surgery. In the winter of 2012, he did go to Germany for a medical emergency: He had a stroke.
Here's where the Talabani family really failed the KRG and Iraq. Jalal couldn't speak, he couldn't move. He was no longer fit to be president and should have been removed from office. But the title was too important to Hero and their kids, more important than the rights of the people. So they defrauded the country. They stages photos with Jalal where he was drinking tea (he wasn't), where he was speaking to people (he wasn't). For 18 months, Iraq had no real president. Jalal was returned in time for the latest elections in the provinces. This was supposed to be a big benefit for his party in the 2014 elections. There was no benefit. The press seemed less eager to hype lies about Jalal now that he was back in Iraq. And the Kurds realized just how much they'd been lied to for months. The PUK took a drubbing.
In September of 2017, the Talabanis tried to flex their political muscle again. Jalal was on the ropes (he'd die the next month) but Hero got her son Bafel to fly in from his American home and pretend that he was a Kurd living in Kurdistan and part of the Kurdish battle for independence. He used his false soapbox to hector Kurds and tell them not to vote for the non-binding resolution that took place September 25, 2017. From the next day's snapshot:
Tuesday, September 26, 2017. The day after the historic vote in northern Iraq.
Yesterday, a historic referendum was held in northern Iraq.
Results above from RUDAW, the official results will be released later-- some day two to three days but Susannah George (AP) reports the results are expected this evening. .
RUDAW explained the referendum as follows:
More than five million people are eligible to vote when the people of Kurdistan head to the polls on Monday, September 25, to decide whether they want to leave or stay with Iraq.
With an estimated global population of between 30 and 40 million, the Kurds are one of the largest ethnic groups without a state. Under the post-WWI Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916, Kurdish lands were divided between Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria.
Kurds in all four parts of what is known as Greater Kurdistan have faced persecution, discrimination, and genocide, and have fought at times for greater rights, autonomy, and independence.
In Iraq, Kurds make up 17 to 20 percent of the total population. In the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq, Kurds have had a semi-autonomous government since a no-fly zone was established over their lands in 1991 after the first Gulf War.
The new Iraqi constitution that came into effect in 2005, after the US-led invasion of 2003, recognized the Kurdistan Region as a federal region with its own legislature and armed forces, the Peshmerga. Both Erbil and Baghdad have accused the other of violating the constitution.
The September 25 referendum will take place in Kurdistan of Iraq only, not neighbouring countries.
It's worth noting that this vote was put together in about three months. It's also worth noting that provincial elections were supposed to have taken place throughout Iraq earlier this year, then pushed back to September, then pushed back to next year.
Over 72% of registered voters in the KRG turned out and over 92% of them voted for the referendum. It was so successful, in fact, that US Senator Chuck Schumer, then-Minority Leader of the Senate, issued the following statement:
For Immediate Release
Date: September 27, 2017
CONTACT: Matt House, (202) 224-2939
Schumer Calls on Administration to Back An Independent Kurdish State
Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today released the following statement in support of an independent Kurdistan State after an overwhelming 93% of Kurds voted Monday in favor of independence from Iraq:
"Monday's historic vote in Iraqi Kurdistan should be recognized and respected by the world, and the Kurdish people of northern Iraq have utmost support. I believe the Kurds should have an independent state as soon as possible and that the position of the United States government should be to support a political process that addresses the aspirations of the Kurds for an independent state.
"Over the last two decades, the Kurds have been one of our strongest and most supportive partners on the ground in the fight against terrorism, and we have relied on the Peshmerga time and again. They have also stood up for the rights of minorities in a region where the oppression of minorities is too often the rule and conflict is often the result. And furthermore, the United States should stand for self-determination for our strongest partners. The Kurds are one of the largest ethnic groups in the Middle East without a homeland and they have fought long and hard for one. Despite this, the Kurds continue to get a raw deal and are told to wait for tomorrow, which is why it's past due that the world, let by the United States, immediately back a political process to address the aspirations of the Kurds.
"In the months ahead, I hope all Iraqis will engage in a dialogue and peacefully determine the best way to accommodate the well-deserved and legitimate aspirations of the Iraqi Kurds. Continued security cooperation between the Kurdish and Iraqi security forces -- particularly on terrorism -- are essential to any transition. Iraq's neighboring countries, however, led by despots who all oppose a Kurdish State because it threatens the status quo and their self-interests, need to respect the need for the Kurds -- and the Iraqis -- to determine their own future.
Help me out, who was against this hugely popular measure that had the overwhelming support of Kurds? Oh, that's right, American posing as Kurdish dweller Bafel Talabani.
Fake assery didn't work for his daddy and Hero needs to grasp that it won't work for Bafel either.
Time and again, the PUK has spent the last ten years out of step with the rest of the Kurds. And that's why the party struggles so badly today. And why it does not deserve the post of president.
ANADOLU AGENCY notes that the Baghdad government had gone to the trouble of closing down the Green Zone ahead of the vote -- they anticipated demonstrations or disappointment that never came. Laure Al Khoury (AL-MONITOR) adds, "The postponement exacerbates Iraq's political problems because it is the task of the president to formally name a prime minister, who must be backed by an absolute majority in parliament."
Are we still pretending Moqtada al-Sadr is a political genius and a 'kingmaker'?
First up? Wednesday's attempt at a presidential vote in Parliament. Next? Moqtada attempts to sell his untested cousin Jaafar Sadr.
Elections were held October 10th in Iraq. All these months later, the political stalemate continues.
The following sites updated: