Thursday, March 10, 2011

Barham Salih and first motion of no confidence in KRG parliment

By Shwan Zulal
Last night KRG Prime Minister, Barham Salih, survived the vote of no confidence motion brought by the opposition benches and he secured the a majority of 67 to 28. The outcome was predicated as the ruling coalition has not shown any support for the vote. The vote was merely symbolic to try to undermine his authority after the last three weeks events. The parliamentary session was partly censored when the opposition benches questioned the PM, and the parliamentary authorities failed to broadcasted the live debate, moreover the opposition MPs did not know anything about the censorship of their debate. Once again the public were short changed and KRG prevented them from seeing important debate in parliament.

Transparency does not seem to be the word of choice for the current KRG government , and they are avoiding it at any cost. There are tens of thousands of people who are protesting and asking for more transparent and accountable government but, this seems to be going over the heads of people running the show in Kurdistan.

Hawlati has reported that demonstrations have started in Dhok, which is KDP stronghold and if here numbers are large and they gather momentum it will be very significant. Mainly berceuse so far the protest has been in the areas were PUK and Goran have strong support and Dhok is KDP heartland. Slemani and the surrounding areas as well as Koya, Taq Taq, Qaladza, chamchaml and Kalar continues to protest. This afternoon Sherko Bekas, prominent Kurdish poet has joined the protesters in Maidni Azadi(freedom Square). The current trend seems to be that the protesters are seeking legitimacy by bringing independent intellectuals and writers into the protest and showing the government that they are not anarchists nor motivated by party political point scoring.

Reports of many arrests in Kalar and Koya as the incumbents are getting more desperate and losing grip. The problem protesters have is that so far the capital Erbil have not yet started demonstrations. KDP and PUK press have been saying that the people of Erbil are happy and does not want to protest but opposition and independent media claim heavy handed security and mass arrests by KDP. Tomorrow would be another planed day of protest in the capital and protesters hope it will start because without Erbil rising up, it would be difficult for the protesters to get their demands listened to.

Many of the party Political media observers are warning of a civil war but this seems to be exaggerated as there seems to be no appetite for such escalation within the public. The opposition parties are all none militia parties unlike PUK and KDP and therefore such likelihood is not possible. However; the only danger is, if PUK splinter group join the opposition or become its own entity which will become the third militia in Kurdistan. There are many rumours about such possibility but so far nothing has emerged.