Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Rise of Gorran

Kamal Chomani analyzes the rise of the Gorran political party, which became the second biggest party the the parliament of Iraqi Kurdistan in last week's elections.  Here is the beginning:
From its emergence in 1991, the Kurdish autonomous region in Iraq has been ruled by an alliance of two parties: the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), led by Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), headed by Iraq's ailing President Jalal Talabani. This duopoly was broken on September 21, when Talabani's party appeared to hemmorage votes to the Gorran (Change) Movement, which split from the PUK in 2009. Preliminary results announced by the Independent High Electoral Commission on Sunday in which the KDP got 71,9004 votes, Gorran 44,6095 votes, PUK 33,2386 votes, Islamic Union 17,8681 votes, and Islamic Group 11,3260 votes. Eleven seats are reserved for minorities and religious sects. Gorran's jump to the second-biggest party in the parliament marks a new era in Kurdish politics. 
Gorran's ascendance reflects widespread public disaffection with corruption and poor services in the KRG, especially areas held by the PUK. The PUK's inability to meet rising public expectations and institute reforms demanded by its liberal base has proven to be its downfall. The KDP has managed to retain its position of dominance primarily through the threat of repression as well as a patronage system greased with oil money. Still, shifts in the Kurdish political landscape make continuation of the status quo an unlikely prospect.  

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