Supporters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party [L] and the supporters of Gorran Movement [R].
SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region – A planned press conference was cancelled in Sulaimani where rivals the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Gorran Movement met for the first time in months, a gesture signifying that they have not reached the common ground sought to end the year-long political stalemate that has paralyzed the Kurdish parliament.
"It was a positive meeting," Ahmad Kani, a member of the KDP delegation told Rudaw shortly after the meeting.
A member of Gorran’s negotiating team was also hesitantly positive. "Generally speaking, there was understanding between us," Dr. Ismail Namiq told KNN.
"They had no proposal, and we did not propose one, either. We just exchanged our views, and discussed [Masoud Barzani's] proposal,” Namiq added,referring to President Barzani's recent call on Kurdish parties to find a solution for the political deadlock in the Kurdish region. “We asked them how do they want to implement the proposal. They told us that they will listen to the views of the political parties, and then they will provide a mechanism for its implementation.”
But Rudaw's Arkan Ali, who followed the delegation all day in Sulaimani, said that indications are that the parties failed to reconcile.
Gorran members at their Sulaimani headquarters had told Rudaw that the press conference would be the thermometer for the meeting. Its cancellation, therefore, reveals the parties’ discontent.
The KDP delegation also held meetings with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and the Islamic Movement (IMK), a small Islamic party with only one seat in the Kurdish parliament.
At a joint KDP-PUK press conference after their meeting, Fazil Mirani, the head of the KDP's politburo, said that they discussed a range of issues with the PUK, but that no decisions were made.
Mirani added that there would be a second round of talks to follow from Monday’s discussions.
The KDP has already spoken with the Islamic Union (KIU) and the Islamic League (Komal) in Erbil.
Kurdish political parties hope that this new round of talks with the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) will end the deadlock that has been gripping the region for more than a year.
KDP officials have said they are pursuing the initiative of KDP leader and President Masoud Barzani who called on all parties last month to hold talks and find a solution for the political deadlock, including the reopening of the parliament.
“This time the KDP and other parties have realized that we must resolve the issues. That’s why we are optimistic about these meetings,” a PUK official earlier told Rudaw.
PUK leaders have said that they and the KDP believe in unconditional talks in order to find a solution as opposed to Gorran, which prefers to negotiate over prepared packages.
A Gorran official told Rudaw last week that their London-based leader Nawshirwan Mustafa has asked his party maintain the door of negotiation with the KDP open.
It is also believed that the PUK—which has a political alliance with Gorran—has asked the movement to be flexible with its conditions and attend all talks with the KDP.
“Our priority is people’s livelihood and if the KDP is serious about resolving the issues then the ice between us will thaw,” said Abdulrazzaq Sharif, a Gorran official.
Sharif said that his party still insists on drafting a permanent law that would specify the powers of the president versus the parliament.
Political rivalries in Kurdistan intensified after angry protesters stormed and torched several offices of the KDP across Sulaimani province October last year, in a series of violent demonstrations that sent shockwaves through the region. Since then, no serious attempts have been made at reconciliation.
Following the violence, the KDP announced it would no longer recognize Gorran member and Parliament Speaker Youssef Muhammad. The parliament has remained paralyzed since then.