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Iraqi Kurdistan's Opposition Party Ends Parliamentary Boycott

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TEHRAN, May 19 (ICANA) – The budget for Iraq's semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan is, each year, a contentious issue. This year however, the intensity of the debate has reached hitherto unseen levels.
Thursday, May 19, 2011 10:39:13 PM
Iraqi Kurdistan's Opposition Party Ends Parliamentary Boycott

In March, the major opposition party, The Movement for Change, boycotted the parliamentary discussions of the 2011 Bill, which they claim lacks transparency, in protest at what they called censorship by the Parliament Speaker - refusing to allow them to ask sufficient questions.

Earlier this week, the opposition returned to parliament saying that the boycott was not in the people's interest.

The opposition also complain of a lack of transparency. The previous government cabinet, under Prime Minister Nerchivan Barzani, announced publicly that a $4 Billion revenue from oil contracts signed between the Kurdish regional government and foreign oil companies was to be handed over to the next cabinet, led by Prime Minister Barham Salih.

However, Dr Salih stated, also publicly, that he had no idea as to the whereabouts of this $4 Billion - and it is not mentioned in this year's Bill.

To add more fuel to the fire, these heated debates come on the back of the government's move to intercept the monthly federal payments from Baghdad to the opposition parties' budgets.

Heated sessions have reportedly lasted over 7 hours straight, but we cannot show any footage of this, as the Kurdish government has taken the unprecedented step of banning all journalists from these sessions. A first in the region's 19-year history of self rule.

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