Iraqi Kurdish parties reject partition of Kirkuk
Middle East News
Jul 18, 2009, 16:52 GMT
Arbil, Iraq - Politicians from the Kurdistan Alliance, the second-largest bloc in Iraq's parliament, on Saturday rejected a plan to divide the oil-rich province of al-Ta'mim into four districts.
The dispute came a week before Kurdish voters were set to vote on a draft constitution for the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq that defined Kurdistan's borders as encompassing disputed areas of the northern Iraqi province, which contains the city of Kirkuk and lucrative oil fields.
Politicians representing members of Iraq's Turkmen minority, who have been among the most resolutely opposed to Kurdish ambitions to create an independent state with Kirkuk as its capital, had proposed dividing the province into four constituencies, which would limit Kurdish parties' ability to win elections in the province there outright.
Control of Kirkuk and its environs has long been the subject of sore dispute in Iraq. Saddam Hussein's government systematically sought to change the ethnic composition of the area by forcing Kurds to resettle elsewhere and settling Arab Iraqis in the province in their stead.
Iraqi politicians have several times deferred tackling the thorny issue of control of the region, and its oil. The province did not participate in January's provincial council elections, for example, after politicians representing groups with rival claims failed to agree on language governing the conduct of the provincial elections there.
The issue has once more come to the fore as parliament debates a law to cover the conduct of national parliamentary elections tentatively scheduled to take place early in 2010. Iraq's electoral commission has urged parliament to finalize the law so it can begin setting up the mechanisms for the elections.
'When we look at the elections law, we must institute a law that serves all Iraqis,' Kurdish lawmaker Mohsin al-Saadun said in remarks carried by the Kurdish AKA News Agency Saturday.
'The Turkmens' demand to divide Kirkuk into four constituencies runs against article 20 of the Iraqi constitution,' he argued.
'The Kurdistan Alliance rejects any proposal on Kirkuk that goes against the Iraqi constitution,' al-Saadun said. 'We reject dividing Kirkuk into four constituencies.'
Article 20 of the Iraqi constitution holds that 'Iraqi citizens, men and women, shall have the right to participate in public affairs and to enjoy political rights including the right to vote, elect, and run for office.'
Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution specifically deals with the status of Kirkuk and other disputed territories, by way of enshrining an article of the administrative law the transitional government instituted after the 2003 US-led invasion of the country.
According to that law, the Iraqi government 'shall act expeditiously to take measures to remedy the injustice caused by the previous regime's practices in altering the demographic character of certain regions, including Kirkuk.'
But the law also defers 'permanent resolution of disputed territories, including Kirkuk' until after a series of measures have been taken to accomplish those goals, and until 'a fair and transparent census has been conducted.'
The Iraqi government has yet to carry out such a census.
Vamos a ver si de una buena vez esta gente se ponen de acuerdo. Ya han tenido tiempo de mas para discutir toda esta situacion. Saludos, Seagal