PUK agrees to rotational governorship in Kirkuk to end political deadlock

PUK agrees to rotational governorship in Kirkuk to end political deadlock

Shafaq News/ The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) bloc in Kirkuk's Governorate Council has agreed to a two-year rotational governorship system to include all ethnic groups in the administration of the disputed territory, a senior official said on Sunday.

"We have agreed to rotate the governorship between Kurds and Arabs for two years, respecting each group's electoral entitlement," said Ribwar Taha, head of the PUK bloc, in a statement to Shafaq News Agency.

The official reiterated the PUK's commitment to inclusivity," reflecting the principles of coexistence advocated by the late Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani."

The decision follows more than five months of deadlock, during which rival parties have struggled to form a local government after the December 2023 elections. The elections resulted in an even distribution of seats among Kurds, Arabs, and Turkmen.

Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani is expected to convene a meeting after the Eid al-Adha holiday to finalize discussions on the recently agreed upon move, he said.

Taha added that the PUK has dismissed proposals for shorter-term rotations, arguing that stability is essential for effective governance and service delivery.

"The proposal to rotate the governorship every six months is impractical," Taha said. "Kirkuk needs administrative stability to ensure project implementation and service delivery."

Taha said the recent tension in the governorate -after the killing of a police officer- is a "natural product for political tension", calling for "respectful dialogue" and condemned "personal attacks that might spiral into social conflict."

The political stalemate arises from the December 18 elections, the first since 2005. Kurds secured eight seats (five for the PUK, two for the Kurdistan Democratic Party, and one for the Christian quota), Arabs won six seats, and the Iraqi Turkmen Front took two. This even distribution has prevented any group from forming a majority.

Key administrative positions, including the governor, deputy governor, and several district administrators, remain vacant or are held on an interim basis as negotiations continue.

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