Kurdistan Region’s Model of Democracy bans 22 new parties!

June 18, 2008 at 7:57 am | Posted in Banning new parties in Kurdistan | Leave a comment
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Kudishaspect.com – By Dr Kamal Mirawdeli


Translated from: Rozhnama, Sulaymaniyah, reformist daily newspaper in Standard Kurdish,  21May 08, p4


[Report by Rebin Fatah in Arbil: ”Issuance of licence to new parties halted in Kurdistan “.]


Granting legal permission for the formation of political parties and organisations in Kurdistan have been halted and all the parties that during the last year have applied to the government for licences have not been approved and they have been forced to close down their headquarters and offices. Meanwhile, the General Director of the Office of the Interior Ministry denies that any verbal or written decision for stopping issuance of licenses for political parties exists.


An informed source told Rozhnama:” Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) have agreed not to give licence for the foundation of any political party and group in Kurdistan . A number of people who have made applications for licensing political parties have not received any answers and have been prevented from opening their offices.”  In this context, member of leadership of ‘Kurdistan Left Party’ (Parti Chapi Kurdistan) Dr Mohammad Pishdari told Rozhnama that “they applied for registering their party two years ago but still they have not received any reply. Then they hired a lawyer and submitted the application for the second time, but they did not get any result.” Pishdari added that “at the beginning they were told that they had to meet the [Interior] Minister. They tried twice a week for one month but they were not allowed to meet the Minister. In short, they did not want us to meet the Minister.”


According to some documents obtained by Rozhnama the Ministry of Interior in Kurdistan Region has formally recognised 25 political parties, two of which have dissolved and merged with KDP. Twenty two more parties and political groups have been denied licenses and they have been described in the documents of Interior Ministry as “subject (controlled) parties” (parta zherdastakan). Some of the parties and groups that have been denied licence indicate that the two dominant parties have controlled the government and they do not want the foundation of any new party unless it is their appendage. Therefore they have not issued licences to any Kurdish party for a long time. The documents obtained by Rozhnama confirm that since 1994 apart from the Islamic Group (Komala) and Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU), only Turkoman and Assyrian parties have been licensed. Applications by Kurdish groups have been turned down. The rejected groups assert that: “ Kurdistan political power is aware that Turkoman and Assyrian parties will never be in a position to compete with them politically, therefore they are licensed. But they are ambivalent about Kurdish parties because they will have chance to become Opposition and compete to replace KDP and PUK.”


A number of known figures last year submitted an application for setting up a party under the name of ‘Kurdistan National Party’ (Parti Nishtimani Kurdistan), but they too have not received any response although according to Law for the Formation of Political Parties and Groups in Kurdistan any application for the formation of a political party must be acknowledged and responded to within three months. If the Government failed to respond within three months, then the applicant group can automatically act as a legally-permitted political party. However, even after the Government’s failure to respond to the applicants within this legal period, they have been prevented from opening their offices.


Founder of ‘Kurdistan National Party’, which were forced to close down their offices, Dr Muhammad Pishdari told Rozhnama: “After three months from submitting their application and failure of the Government to respond to it, we opened an office in Arbil. But the security forces shut our office and removed our sign.” Since 12 December 2007 when the founders of the ‘party’ submitted their application, they have received no positive or negative responses from the Interior Ministry; therefore they cannot have activities as a political party. 


Most of the groups that have applied for licenses stress that they do have all the terms and conditions for becoming a political party. The lack of response from the government is not based on lacking the conditions for setting up a party because if the conditions had not been met they would have been informed by the Ministry of Interior and would have been rejected on this basis. “But the fact of the matter is that the political power does not want any group outside its own will to function.”


Hawre Abdullah, deputy Secretary General of Kurdistan Workers’ Communist Party, which is one of the parties refused a licence, says that they have all the conditions for being a party such as Programme and Internal Rules, the names of 50 founders and 500 members. But so far they have received no answer. He stresses:” We would continue to use all our efforts to get licensed but if we fail then we would resort to internal and international campaigning”.


A main part of the political bureau of ‘Kurdistan Independence Action Party’ (parti kari serbekhoyi Kurdistan ) declared some time ago the dissolution of their party and joined KDP. A few months ago the former head of the party and a number of its members did not accept the dissolution of the party and merging with KDP they applied for the renewal of the licence of their party. A member of the leadership of the party told us: “We submitted our application in December last year but we have not received any response yet.” This member of the party, who preferred to remain anonymous, said “We are waiting for the government’s reply in order to reopen our offices and resume our activities as a political party.”


The Union of Communists in Iraq which has had activities in Kurdistan region since 1988 are in the process of setting up the Communists’ Committee in Kurdistan and apply to the government for licence. Member of the Central Committee of that Party indicated that they would submit their application for formal recognition in Kurdistan after completing their preparations. He added;” The past experience of the political power in the Region does not give us reason for optimism. They have seldom responded to the groups they do not like.” This member of the Central Committee of Union of Communists points out that although according to law any [new applicant] party that has not been acknowledged within three months, are entitled to act as legal group after that period, this law is not respected by the political power.


The General Director of the Office of Interior Ministry the judge Tariq Gardi rejected the idea that there exists any decision not to license new political parties. He said;” There is no such decision, verbal or written.” He added;” The Law of Political Parties is a clear law. The applications we have received would be studied and if they meet legal conditions they would be referred to the Prime Minister.”


Kurdistan Democratic Solution Party is one of the parties whose application has been kept in the Ministry of Interior for a long time. They have still not received legal permission. The General Director of the Office of Interior Ministry says:” We refused to give them license and they could make a legal appeal.” About the reasons for refusing to give them permission, Tariq Gardi said: “There are three points in their programme that contravene the Law of Political Parties in Kurdistan Region.”


Appendix 1


List of the unlicensed parties


1.  Turkoman Unity Party (hizb al-wahda al-Turkoman)

2.  Kurdistan Democratic Solution Party (parti charasari dimokrati Kurdistan )

3.  Kurdistan Independent Party (parti serbekhoyi Kurdistan )

4.  Iraqi Turkomans’ Islamic Union (yeketi Islami Turkomani Iraq )

5.  Independent Syriani Group Movement (hereke tajammu’ al-Siryani al-mustaqil)

6.  The Jews Party (parti juleke)

7.  Iraq Truth party (party rasti i’eraq)

8.  Independent Turkoman Gathering (al-tajammu’ al-Turkomani al-mustaqil)

9.  Assyrian National Party (parti nishtimani ashuri)

10.        Islamic Party for Iraq (Al-hizb al-Islami lil-I’raq)

11.        National Accord Movement (hereke al-wifaq al-watani)

12.        Free National Democratic Party (hizb al-watani al-demoqrati al-hur)

13.        Kurdistan Communist Workers’ Party- Iraq- (hizbi komonisti Kurdstani krekari- I’eraq)

14.        Ezidi Democratic Movement (al-hereke al-demoqratiyya al-yezidiyya)

15.        Iraqi National Congress (kongrey nishtimani I’raq)

16.        Kurdistan Progressive Popular Democratic Party (parti peshkewtinxwazi demokrati geli Kurdistan )

17.        Turkoman Elli party (party Turkoman elli)

18.        Red Fire Organisation (rekkhrawi agrasura)

19.        Islamic Group (komaley Islami)

20.        Kurdistan Patriotic Trend (rawti nishtimani Kurdisatn)

21.        South Kurdistan Republican party (parti komari Kurdistani bashur)

22.        Kurdistan Freedom Congress 9kongrey azadi Kurdistan )


Appendix 2:  Licensed parties


Licensed party                                                                          Original applicant

1.  Kurdistan Democratic Party (parti demokrati Kurdistan )            Masu’d Barzani

2.  Kurdistan Communist Party (hizbi komonisti Kurdistan )              Kamal Shakir

3.  Kurdistan Salvation Party (hizbi rizgari Kurdistan )                     Zed Mahmud

4.  Kurdistan Socialist Democratic Party (hizbi soshyalisti demokrati Kurdistan ) Hamay Haji-Mahmud 

5.  Kurdistan Toilers Party (hizbi zehmatkeshani kurdisatn)                         Qadir Aziz

6.  Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (yaketi nishtimani Kurdistan )                        Jalal Talabani

7.  Kurdistan Popular Democratic Movement (bzutnewey demokrati geli K.)   Khidr Rusii

8.  K.  Democracy-advocates Movement (bzutneweydemokratikhwazani K)  Bahaddi Nuri

9.  Kurdistan Workers and Toilers Party (parti krekaran w ranjdarani K)  Bapir Kamala

10.        Kurdistan National Democratic Union (yeketi neteweyi demokrati K)  Ghafur Makhmuri

11.        Kurdistan Islamic Movement (bzutnewey islami Kurdistan )    Mala Ali Abdlaziz

12.        Kurdistan Islamic Union (yekgrtuy Islami Kurdistan)                   Salahaddin Bahaaddin

13.        Islamic Movement of Kurdish Nation (bzutnewey Islami nataway Kurd) M. Nihad (dissolved)

14.        Kurdistan Turkoman Democratic Party (hizbi dimokrati Turkomani I’raq)   Dilsahd Chawashli

15.        Iraqi Turkoman Unity party (parti yaketi Turkomani I’raq)      Dr Sayfaddin Damirchi

16.        Turkoman Nation Salvation Party (parti rizgari nataway Turkoman)         Sherzan U’zer Aghali

17.        Turkoman Brotherhood Party (pari brayeti Turkoman)                               Walid Sharika

18.        Assyrian Democratic Movement (bzutnewey dimokrati Ashuri)                  Yonadim Yusif Kanna

19.        Betnehreyn Party (parti bet nahrayn)                                                        Romeo Hakari

20.        Chaldoneans Democratic Union Party (parti yaketi dimokrati Kaldan)          Ibilh’d Afram Sawa

21.        Kurdistan Conservatives Party (parti parezgarani Kurdistan )                       Omar Agah Surchi

22.        Kurdistan Indepndence Action Party (hizbi kari serbekhoyi Kurdistan )    Rostam Halaq

23.        Turkoman Democratic Movement in Kurdistan (bzutnewey dimokrati                           Turkoman le Kurdistan ) –                                         Karkhi Najmaddin Alti barmagh (dissolved)

24.        Turkoman Reformsit Movement in Kurdistan Region (bzutnewey chaksazi                  Turkoman le heremi Kurdistan-                                                      Abdalqadir Bazirgan

25.        Assyrian National Party (parti nishtimani ashuri)                 Namrud Betu Yokhanna

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