By the Editors:
The glorious ‘Arab Spring’ toppled some dictatorships and haunted others with the sceptre of people power. It also reverberated across Kurdistan, raising now the prospect of self-rule for Kurds in west Kurdistan and last year inspiring citizens in semi-autonomous south Kurdistan to revolt against our unjust rulers.
Following the horrors of Saddam, the Kurdistan Regional Government should be a model of democracy and good governance. Instead we have autocratic rule, frequent human rights abuses and endemic corruption strangling our society. Our natural resources are treated as the rulers’ private property. There is no real accountability. We endure a form of tribal rule masked, mainly for international consumption, by the trappings of democracy.
That is why we need a written constitution for the Kurdistan Region, as a corner stone for robust institutions, the separation of powers, the rule of law and government of, for and by the people.
Now is the time to re-open the discussion that culminated in the Kurdistan Parliament voting for a draft constitution in 2009. Nothing has happened to the draft since and we believe that – especially given recent developments – it now needs careful review and amendment. Then it should be approved by parliament and put before the people for their approval in a referendum.
We propose that a revised draft constitution should, among others, include these features:
- Reduced role for the presidency and the election of the President by Parliament.
- Separation of religion from the state, while firmly upholding and respecting the rights of all to their beliefs and worship.
- Creation of unified armed forces and the abolition of private militias.
- Natural resources to be transparently under the control of Parliament.
In association with a number of Kurdish intellectuals, politicians and journalists, KT has decided to help kick-start the process and work for a broad-based Campaign for a Democratic Constitution for Kurdistan.
We urge you, our readers, to participate in this first, consultative, phase.
Alongside the 2009 Draft Constitution we are publishing a list of proposed amendments. These have been composed by us and the Kurdistan Institute for Elections and they are meant to provide a basis for discussion. We invite you to have your say by posting comments, sending us emails and submitting articles (of 400-1500 words) which we will consider for publication.
We propose to run this consultation for one month before moving to the next phase of the campaign.
We look forward to hearing from you.
- 2009 Draft Constitution for the Kurdistan Region
- 2012 Proposed Amendments to the 2009 Draft Constitution
“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
― Abraham Lincoln