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Opposition Protests Continue in Iraqi Kurdistan

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TEHRAN, April 19 (ICANA) – Iraqi Kurdistan is often described by experts as a duopoly. The two ruling parties, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, or PUK, and the Kurdistan Democratic Party, or KDP, each rule one half of the region. Each half has a separate political, military, security, and even university system - directed by the parties.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011 8:08:16 PM
Opposition Protests Continue in Iraqi Kurdistan

One of the main complaints of the Kurdish opposition movement, and the protesters who are still voicing their concerns in Sulaymanieh's Azadi Square, is this controlling of services and the various departments of government, according to a "Strategic Agreement" formed betweent he PUK and KDP in 2002.

The agreement was formed in the wake of the Kurdish Civil War. After the Kurdish Uprising following the First Persian Gulf War that partially liberated Iraqi Kurdistan, the two Kurdish political parties - who had previously operated only as guerilla rebel forces - began fighting each other for territorial control.

More than 4,000 Kurds were killed before the leaders of each party, Mesud Barzani, now President of the Kurdistan Region, and Jalal Talabani, President of Iraq, signed a peace agreement.

But the opposition claims the agreement is outdated and undemocratic.

Spokespeople for the government argue that such agreements are not unique to Kurdistan, and are essential for ensuring peace and security in post-war regions.

On Sunday, dozens more were wounded in violent clashes betwen protestors and PUK security forces in Sulaymanieh.

"As protests continue in Sulaymaniyah, the traditional PUK stronghold, speculation is increasing as to the KDP dropping the PUK from their joint-list for the next election. Such a step would be a monumental moment in Kurdish history, and possibly pave the way for a more plural parliament."

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