The upcoming parliamentary elections in Iraqi Kurdistan will see a new political bloc vying for seats in a struggle against the two controlling mainstays of Kurdish political power: the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) led by Masud Barzani and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) whose leader is the incumbent president of Iraq, Jalal Talabani.
Nawshirwan Mustafa was, for some 40 years, part of that very political establishment. He was co-founder of the PUK with Talabani back in 1975. He stepped down from his post as deputy secretary-general in December 2006, lamenting the fact that any type of reform in the political system was blocked.
Mustafa, now 65, has decided to create an independent coalition, the Movement for Change, to contest the upcoming parliamentary elections, reports Adnan Osman, editor-in-chief of the Rozhnama newspaper, which is owned by Mustafa’s Wusha Media Corporation.
Says Mustafa, ‘The two parties [KDP and PUK] are controlling the police and media and we fear that this may affect the elections. But we think that the will of the people will prevail in the end.’
Video: Interview with Nawshirwan Mustafa on Al-Jazeera
Barzanji, Yahya. Independent candidate taps on ‘Change’ slogan to woo Iraq’s divided Kurds in regional vote. AP, 02 May 2009.
Nawshirwan Mustafa: The Voice of the Opposition from Within, Middle East magazine, May 2008
Osman, Twana and Roman Zagros. Ex-Kurdish leader takes on old allies in Iraqi Kurdistan, EKurd, 13 November 2008
Zagros, Roman and Azeez Mahmood. Third Force in Kurdish Politics Mooted, ISN Zurich, 06 April 2009