PUK willing to give up justice ministry in order to back PM’s gov’t

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) supports the speedy completion of Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi’s government, even if that means they don’t get a ministry.

“Despite our abundant concerns and reservations, in which Adil Abdul-Mahdi was not ready to give the PUK its share in the cabinet, we are not hoping for it to fail,” Miran Mohammed, a PUK MP in Baghdad, told Rudaw of the party’s stance on the government.

The PUK had been lobbying for a ministerial post in the new cabinet, namely the justice ministry, but failed.

Dara Nuradin, an independent Kurdish politician, is Abdul-Mahdi’s candidate for the minister of justice. He has the backing of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and other Kurdish parties in Baghdad, but has not yet been put to a vote in the parliament.

The finalization of the cabinet has taken months of discussions, and is still not done. Iraqis went to the polls on May 12. Abdul-Mahdi and 14 of his ministers were sworn in on October 24 and another three were approved on December 18.

Five posts are still unfilled – education, migration, justice, defence, and interior. If the PUK drops its objections to Nuradin, that could take Abdul-Mahdi one step closer to finally filling his cabinet table.

“We are supporting the cabinet to be completed as soon as possible and not to fail,” said Mohammed. “We are angry, but will not try to sabotage his [Abdul-Mahdi’s] cabinet.”

Iraqis are getting anxious, holding protests and demanding lawmakers complete the task of filling the ministerial posts.

The parliament is convening on Saturday, but a vote on the remaining five ministers is not on the agenda.

“There’s a possibility that this matter could be put on the agenda through collecting signatures of MPs,” said Mohammed.

Of the 17 ministers so far approved, just two are Kurds and they are both from the KDP: Minister of Finance Fuad Hussein and Minister of Housing and Reconstruction Bangin Rekani.

Iraqi President Barham Salih is a member of the PUK. Source