Has the Talabani family marginalised the PUK for a generation?

By Mufid Abdulla:

Hero Ibrahim Ahmed

Hero Ibrahim Ahmed

It is almost one year and four months since Jalal Talabani vanished from the political scene due to a serious stroke. Since then fears have grown and hope has been diminished within his Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) over how the party leadership can fill the vacuum inside the organisation. At the last party conference in 2011, Talabani’s wife Hero Ibrahim Ahmed was pushing her name forward for more politburo positions, apparently in preparation for her husband’s departure, to the extent of taking on responsibility for the key Branch One organisation in Suli city. Hero Ibrahim Ahmed must have a recurring dream that she can take control of the PUK leadership. However, the reality is proving mightier than her wishes. It is a common view among members of the PUK Branch One that, after she took over, most of the members defected to the Goran movement. There is evidence of this in the PUK’s heavy defeat in the 21st September parliamentary elections and, as a result, she resigned from that post although she still seems not to appreciate the political realities in the south of Kurdistan.

As a result of the election defeat, the PUK has become almost ungovernable. A power struggle has sharpened between modernisers, such as the PUK ex-deputy leader Barham Salih, and the old guard under Hero Ibrahim Ahmed. A party conference to resolve these problems was meant to open on 31st January, but the party failed to keep to that date for two possible reasons: one claim is that the party needed instead to spend more time preparing for the Iraqi parliament elections in April 2014; the other version is that the Talabani family, realising it had no chance of winning, was scared of any leadership election at the conference. The current leader of PUK Branch One in Suli city, Sheik Aumar, has told local newspapers that, “if Qubad Talabani wasn’t Talabani’s son, his position could be very different”. This statement from a PUK leader should be taken very seriously because it indicates just how unhappy the grassroots are with Talabani family rule. Postponing the party conference has generated the anger and bewilderment of people such as Dr Barham Salih, exacerbating the internal conflict to the extent that Salih told reporters at the beginning of this month that he is now nothing but an ordinary member of the party. Observers close to the PUK leadership believe the party has lost even more ground with the public during recent internal disputes and could become marginalised for a generation. Political analysts believe the PUK is heading for another disaster in next month’s Iraqi parliamentary elections.


One Response to Has the Talabani family marginalised the PUK for a generation?
  1. kurd
    March 20, 2014 | 19:17

    The PUK farewells from political scene very soon and the kurdish people are stupid if they vote especially
    for this historic party and other political parties anymore … and also the Gorran is not better than the PUK…
    these two political parties have not right to rule our society because they handed everything to the KDP easily!?

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