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The challenges facing Gorran to change

The Gorran Movement has spent four challengeable years as an opposition in Parliament, but success in the next four years for Gorran as a partner to the ruling party in the broad-based government will be a challenge.

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Nawshirwan Mustafa, Gorran Movement General Organizer addresses Gorran supporters on the eve July 2009 elections [AFP]

The Gorran Movement (The Change Movement) has spent four challengeable years as an opposition in Parliament, but success in the next four years for Gorran as a partner to the ruling party in the broad-based government will be a challenge.  The Transformation from an opposition party to a ruling force which shares power in government is an inevitable challenge that tests its capacity to run public institutions. The new phase of Gorran is to interpret the ideas, reform packages, and criticism into practical steps to be accountable for its policies.

Gorran has been a hope for thousands, in particular in the youth. Undoubtedly, Gorran voters want most of their hopes to be realized and they scrutinize Gorran’s every move. One of the main differences between Gorran’s voters and  those of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, KDP led by Kurdistan’s incumbent president Masoud Barzani and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, PUK led by ailing former Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, is that they went to the polls ballots conditionally; to see changes and reforms in the current government.

The socio-political structure of Gorran requires it to be more accountable to the public as the only source of its  legitimacy. Unlike the KDP and PUK, Gorran doesn’t own giant corporations to sustain it; its power comes from public support. Most of the followers of Gorran are middle and lower class voters as they seek justice through reforms in KRG institutions. These groups are affected by government actions the most. Therefore, any delay in reform or change in the favor of the public, may jeopardize Gorran’s popularity as well as the social stability of the region.

Gorran emerged in 2009 as an opposition movement when people’s anger against the ruling KDP and PUK had reached a peak. Nawshirwan Mustafa, a co-founder of PUK and a leading Kurdish politician and freedom fighter during Kurdish resistance in Iraq, took lead of the movement. Nawshirwan Mustafa seemed not to be involved in corruption, or abuse of power in his personal interests. Therefore, tens of Kurdish activists, intellectuals, journalists, writers joined Gorran. In the June 2009 general election in the Kurdistan Region, the Change Movement won 25 seats out of 111, and in last September’s Parliamentary Elections, Gorran was able to maintain this, securing 24 seats.

In the KRG’s current cabinet, Gorran is represented in a coalition government with 4 other political parties. Gorran’s share in the KRG cabinet is 4 ministries; Peshmerga, Finance, Trade and Industry and Religious Affairs. The position of speaker of Parliament also belongs to Gorran. Having said that, Gorran maintains some critical positions in the government body as well as the legislative branch. But two ministries are urgently requiring radical reforms; the Ministry of Peshmerga, and the Ministry of Finance.

The Ministry of Peshmerga

One of the most difficult tasks facing Gorran is Peshmerga Ministry. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Peshmerga is one of the most fragmented ministries in the Kurdistan Region due its division between the KDP and PUK. There are thousands of men and women who are members of political parties, registered under this ministry to get retirement benefits who they haven’t served as army members at all. The majority of Peshmerga forces are untrained and they lack of modern arms. Probably the most serious issue for the Ministry of Peshmerga is having Peshmerga forces which are not under Peshmerga Ministry command. Almost 70 percent of Peshmerga forces technically don’t report to the Minister of Peshmerga.

The Change Movement has already promised to meet people’s demands and one of the main demands is unifying Peshmerga forces and providing a better life for the Peshmerga. Some bet on the impossibility of Peshmerga unification as it has never been ruled under one command in the past. One of the reasons the KDP and PUK have not been successful in unifying the forces was the lack of trust and maintenance of the balance of power between the two. However, the trick with Gorran is that they can play a meddle role. If Gorran fails in unifying the Peshmerga, the hope of having a unified Kurdish force will disappear which may eventually cause instability in the region.

Since holding office in the ministry, Gorran has done thorough research and has found out that almost 400,000 people have been employed by and retired from the ministry, whereas only 40,000 of them are under the command of the Peshmerga.

Gorran’s Minister is now focused on defeating ISIS, but it appears that once the threat of ISIS is eliminated, Gorran will bring all these issues to the attention of the KDP and PUK.

The Ministry of Finance

For the last 8 months, the KRG has been undergoing a severe financial crisis due to budget freeze from central government in Baghdad.  As a result the KRG has a $7 billion deficit that has caused a hardship on the people of Kurdistan. The delay of their monthly wages and has contributed to negative impacts on the market. In fact, people voted for Gorran in order to bring better economic opportunities, but now the KRG is experiencing its worst days of the past decade.

The Finance Ministry can’t solve the budget issue as KRG’s spending exceeds internal income in Kurdistan. However the true level of internal income is not known as the former KRG cabinets have failed to administer the internal incomes under a unified ministry. The incomes were generated through local governments rather than the Ministry of Finance. Thus, the Minister of Finance doesn’t have access to the true internal income. The only income the ministry has is the local and international sale of oil.

The Finance Ministry is part of the High Council of Oil and Gas in Kurdistan. Thus the minister should be aware of all the revenue from oil exports, which Gorran claims have been hidden from the public by the Natural Resources Ministry. The Ministry of Finance should control incomes at the border points of Ibrahim Khaleel, Haji Omaran, Bashmakh, Parwez Khan and others. In the meantime, the Finance Ministry should have full access to local taxes paid to the government. More importantly, the Finance Ministry should reconsider the tax policy, especially when it comes to deal with large corporations and local and foreign companies exempted from tax. All these are a challenge for the Gorran Minister as changes may be in the interest of the public, but may harm the KDP and PUK interests; a sure way to hinder the reforms. Therefore, Gorran may focus on a policy to avoid creating losers and eventually reverse the transformations.

All Kurdish political parties must agree on a national project to instigate reforms and changes as so far they have only agreed on a united government not a reform package. Gorran needs to work hard on convincing all parties of a reform package otherwise claims of reform will wither and die.

 

2 Comments on The challenges facing Gorran to change

  1. Dear Sir,

    I have read the Human Rights Report issued by Mss. Donatella Rovera from amnesty international regarding the Kurdish Peshmarge.
    The report is issued for a political reason only and it is not fair.
    I think Mss. Rovera has been payed for that by one of the Arab Countries .
    Where was Ms. Rovera when the kurd has been genocided and ethnic cleanined by Arabs in Iraq and Syria in the last 50 years.
    Did Ms. Rovera say anything about what Turkey does and still doing against the Kurd and denying any rights of over 20 million kurd in Turkey.
    I am sure she is corrupted and has been payed for the report.
    To the attention of Mss. Donatella Rovera,

    The Most Bloody and Barbaric Nation in the Universe is Turkish.
    They killed:
    ⦁ 1.5 Million Armenians.
    ⦁ Thousands of thousands of Greeks.
    ⦁ Thousands of thousands of Bulgarians.
    ⦁ Millions of Kurds.
    Turkey is not much better than ISIS
    Turkey should be kicked out from NATO and punished severely
    PKK is not a terrorist.
    Turkey is the only terrorist.
    I believe Afghanistan Taliban is more reliable and compatible than Turkey to be a member of the European Union.
    Bulgarian genocide
    More than 5,000 of the 7,000 inhabitants of the Bulgarian town of Batak, including women and children, were raped, slaughtered, beheaded or burned alive by Ottoman irregulars who left piles of dead bodies around the town square and church in 1876, giving start of the April Uprising.
    The Greek genocide, part of which is known as the Pontic genocide, was the systematic ethnic cleansing of the Christian Ottoman Greek population from its historic homeland in Asia Minor, central Anatolia, Pontus, and the former Russian Caucasus province of Kars Oblast during World War I and its aftermath (1914–23). It was instigated by the government of the Ottoman Empire against the Greek population of the Empire and it included massacres, forced deportations involving death marches, summary expulsions, arbitrary executions, and destruction of Christian Orthodox cultural, historical and religious monuments. According to various sources, several hundred thousand Ottoman Greeks died during this period.[3] Some of the survivors and refugees, especially those in Eastern provinces, took refuge in the neighbouring Russian Empire. After the end of the 1919–22 Greco-Turkish War, most of the Greeks remaining in the Ottoman Empire were transferred to Greece under the terms of the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey. Other ethnic groups were similarly attacked by the Ottoman Empire during this period, including Assyrians and Armenians, and some scholars consider those events to be part of the same policy of extermination.
    Armenian genocide
    In April 1915 the Ottoman government embarked upon the systematic decimation of its civilian Armenian population. The persecutions continued with varying intensity until 1923 when the Ottoman Empire ceased to exist and was replaced by the Republic of Turkey. The Armenian population of the Ottoman state was reported at about two million in 1915. An estimated one million had perished by 1918, while hundreds of thousands had become homeless and stateless refugees. By 1923 virtually the entire Armenian population of Anatolian Turkey had disappeared.
    Kurd genocide
    Since the Armenian genocide, Turkey has done very well to hide and disguise its dark history from the international community. But a shady past rarely dawns a bright future.
    Instead, Turkey is re-branding itself with Europe-friendly terms to essentially get rid of what it has always wanted to be rid of. Turkey’s tidy up of its language: words with a distinct Kurdish origin wiped out and replaced. Indeed, anything that is not strictly Turkish has been linked to “terrorism” – a trigger word guaranteed to win the sympathies of the international community.
    The Turkish constitution does not recognise Kurds in Turkey, and so often labels them as terrorists, providing a convenient scapegoat for military uprisings and other political issues. Thus, “terrorist” becomes a synonym for Kurds.
    Turkey frequently argues that the PKK is a terrorist organisation; hence all Kurdish organisations are banned for what they may imply.
    Kobani-Syria
    Turkey committing genocide campaign against the Kurd in South Turkey and in Syria using ISIS (Supporting ISIS by all means).

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