News and Comment by The Kurdistan Tribune:
For the last two months, Iraq’s turmoil has developed into deadlock. Talabani has told reporters that he has not received enough signatures to withdraw confidence from the Maliki government. He has also indirectly told Kurdistan president Barzani that, as president of Iraq, he must stay neutral and cannot support Barzani’s drive to remove Maliki from power. Last week’s bombings caused yet more mayhem and violence across Iraq, claiming more than 200 lives, but it’s business as usual for the Maliki government which accepts no blame but cannot stop the violence.
The economic paralysis in Kurdistan has not been caused by these events but by the delayed approval of the 2012 Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) budget, which the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) is blaming on the opposition. The PUK leadership has accused the opposition of paralysing the markets in Kurdistan due to its delay in commenting on the budget papers. The PUK has told Gorran, the main opposition party: “Don’t delay the budget because this affects peoples’ lives”.
In response Gorran MP Rebaz Fatah told Lvin: “If the PUK is concerned about this, why have they delayed for the last eight months without any legal reason?” Furthermore, he said, Gorran does not want to approve budget papers which sanction incorrect and unjustified expenses for the Kurdish leaders. “We want to be inside the process and to know what is going on”.
The dispute reflects the enhanced role now enjoyed by the opposition since Arsalan Baiz, a PUK representative, became leader of parliament.
Gorran and the other opposition parties issued a statement about the budget on 12 June. First, it said, there are a lot of discrepancies in the budget papers and basically the figures do not add up. If these budget papers are passed as they are, this will only compound corruption and injustice. Second, the budget papers require a special committee to discuss and analyse all the issues. Third, the opposition asked the two ruling parties to heed its notes and observations rather than, as in previous years, ignoring them and carrying on regardless.