World, Middle East

2 parties withdraw from Kurdish Regional Govt in N.Iraq

Gorran, Komal withdraw from N. Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government as demonstrations in Sulaymaniyah enter 3rd day

20.12.2017
2 parties withdraw from Kurdish Regional Govt in N.Iraq Parliament of Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government

Ankara

By Idris Okuducu

ERBIL, Iraq

Two Kurdish political parties on Wednesday withdrew from northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) as a show of support for ongoing protests in the nearby city of Sulaymaniyah. 

In a joint statement, the Movement for Change (Gorran) and the Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal) both announced their withdrawal from the KRG’s ruling coalition.

The move comes as large anti-government rallies entered their third day in Sulaymaniyah, where the two parties -- along with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan -- are based.

The move means that Gorran (which holds 24 seats in the Kurdish parliament) will forfeit the Kurdish parliamentary speakership, along with the KRG’s finance/economy and Peshmerga affairs portfolios.

Since Monday, Sulaymaniyah -- one of the Kurdish region’s largest cities -- has been rocked by massive demonstrations by civil servants demanding payment of overdue salaries and an end of perceived government corruption.

On Tuesday, at least five protesters were shot dead by local security forces in the city, while a number of public facilities -- including several party offices -- were torched by angry demonstrators.

According to local witnesses, protesters set fire to the local offices of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (the KRG’s leading coalition partner) and the Iraqi Turkmen Front.

Local authorities have since stepped up security throughout the region with a view to preventing further escalations.

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