The top leadership of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan convenes only after two years due to the deep inter-rivalry between its factions.
For the 40th anniversary of its founding, each of the PUK Politburo, Leadership and Central councils gathered under one roof with the attendance of its founder, Jalal Talabani, who has disappeared from its role as the secretary-general since end of 2012.
The meeting was held on Sunday, May 30th, in the PUK’s headquarter in Suleymania. PUK’s Politburo has not have had meeting for over a year due to the disputes between the rivalry blocks of Talabani’s family led by Hero Ibrahim with PUK’s deputy secretaries Kosrat Rasul Ali and Barham Salih. For many months, Hero Ibrahim and Barham Salih were not speaking to each other, the local media channels were reporting.
“Our meeting here is not to hide the problems and turning blind eye on our crises,” said Barham Salih, who was the only speaker at the meeting. “PUK cannot bear hidings. It needs practical solutions to revive and protecting its position in decision-making of politics, governance and national issues.”
The party’s domestic disputes has also impacted its policies in the Kurdistan Region vis-a-vis Baghdad and neighboring countries, as well as on the relations with the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Gorran movement. Although her position is member of the Politburo, by de-facto Hero Ibrahim has become the number one person in the PUK. She has blocked many attempts by Barham Salih and Kosrat Rasoul to reform certain organizations of the PUK as well as removing people from their positions. The two men have questioned her role in the PUK as going beyond her limits, but as the wife of Talabani, she is in charge of the PUK’s finances and security apparatuses which both Barham Salih and Kosrat Rasoul have called changing their command-structures as well as more transparency.
“I wish we could have told our supporters and members the solutions of our issues on this occasion. But that time has yet to come,” said Salih.