Iraq Business Report

Last updated at 26/12/2017

The End of an Era
Yousif Mohamed Sadiq, Speaker of Kurdistan Parliament-Iraq

Farewell Address

25 Dec. 2017

My fellow citizens in Kurdistan, 

It is well-known we are going through a very difficult time. Our country is going through a troublesome period. At times like these, it is the duty of the government to provide a dignified life rather than becoming a source of hardship. These days, the political authorities in Kurdistan are threatening the lives of ordinary people rather than supporting them. 

When we set out on this journey, our aim, as a Speaker of Parliament, was to ensure the government of the people, by the people and for the people. Today, as we say farewell to the parliament, we promise to continue on the same path in the future.

It is no secret that this term of Parliament was divided into two periods: the first period was an ordinary one and the latter one abnormal by every account. We can name them also pre-coup and post-coup period, reference to the October 2015 coup: Coup in the sense of using violence to reach an illegal political ambition. Today we are witnessing the same method: Political authorities are using force without hesitation for their own narrow interests and survival. 

All forms of political authority in the world which has respect for the people; providing security is their priority, in contrast, the Kurdish authority is weak in front of the outsiders and domestically cruel. As the Kurdish proverb says: Lion at home and fox in outside. 
The coup d'état on the parliament was against all democratic and rule of law principles. It was the beginning of the series that followed by the referendum adventure and today we live in the third period of confronting civilian with bullets for demanding their basic needs. 

The people of Kurdistan love their country, are willing to starve, endure pain and even die for it, but the current political authority does not accept to share the wealth of the country with the people. Unjust distribution is at the heart of the political, social and economic crisis in Kurdistan. Achieving this is only realizable through institution and the rule of law. However, Kurdistan is heading in the opposite direction; monopoly and chaos. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Kurdistan‌s political landscape, like elsewhere, is a mosaic of different parties, views and forces, that make up the Kurdistan society. Thus, an inclusive space is needed to bring them together, the only place which can provide such a space is the parliament. Through the parliament, all the differences will coexist and contribute in making a good government.

Throughout the time we headed the parliament our core value was a genuine parliamentary system and an active parliament. We left no stone unturned to achieve this goal. We believed that a weak parliament, a rubber stamp parliament, is only contributing negatively to represent people and peoples‌ positions within the political sphere. Hence, we never accepted an ineffective and a rubber stamp parliament. The parliament as a place and system is essential for a nation, like us, in its early stage of building institutions, in order to learn the art of toleration and respect. This makes the parliament the only alternative to the rule of strongman. 

My fellow citizens,

The first two years of the current parliament we worked with this spirit. In cooperation with the MPs, we sought to put the parliament in its right position, to defend people and represent them against the de facto rule.
Together in the presidency team, especially with my dear friend Sheikh Fakhradin Qadir, former Secretary of Kurdistan Parliament-Iraq, in coordination with most of the political party blocs, we worked on implementing the rule of law, stopping corruption and questioning the executive seriously. During our period, the number of law that passed might not be high, but they were significant and essential. We attempted to represent the people and their agonies: This can be witnessed in what we did for Shangal and Kobani.  We opened the parliament door for everyone from all parts of Kurdistan and its communities abroad. During this period the parliament touched a number of issues which were regarded as taboo in the past. We rejected all the pressures to derail the parliamentary procedures. There is a lot to say in this regard, this will suffice for now. 

In the post-coup era, our main aim was how to prevent the parliament as an institution and by then as a cause, from marginalization. To achieve this goal we took our case to the world through diplomatic channels. In the last two years, without a break, we carried the cause of parliament and other issues of our nation, such as the genocide of our Yazidi brothers and sisters, to many places; especially in Europe. Many were our supporters in our struggle. This was based on our strong belief in the role of the parliament as a legitimate institution in representing our people in the world. Here, I would like to express my utmost gratitude to the Kurdish communities abroad as they were our true supporters in our diplomatic endeavors. 

We are proud we made the parliament the centre of decision making in Kurdistan. When it was paralyzed we made the parliament an institution with influence abroad. This was part of people‌s diplomacy and parliamentary diplomacy. The eco of paralyzing the parliament on the world stage is a result of these efforts. 
It is no secret that the parliament and the political system elsewhere have passed through such a turbulent periods. Those who are afraid of people‌s power attempt to silence and marginalize people, but the outcome was always for people. 

As we address this farewell statement, we pledge to continue on the path of democratization and parliamentary system, while being in the opposition. As we believed in past, that opposition is the core for an effective parliament, this believe remains unshaken.

Sadly, today the parliament is going through a difficult period as there are attempts to return it to the period of rubber stamp and ineffectiveness. Today‌s form of reactivation shows the wish of the party‌s echelons and executive that they envisage a parliament without any real power and influence, as we witness it in dictatorial systems.

In fact, the current so-called parliament reactivation only degrading further this vital institution and make it a vehicle for passing personal and party plans which manifested  itself in the referendum debacle. Prior to the referendum, Kurdistan had a great opportunity, avoiding the referendum would have paved the way to capitalize on it further, but in the absence of a real parliament, every opportunity, including the draft of US Secretary of State letter was stubbornly rejected. 

These days, after the October 16th defeat, there is no possible outcome left for the current government but to declare total failure and cave in. Today, the message of the people became clear through the demonstrations and boycotts in every cities and districts. Thus, we walked with the demonstrators to support their just demands. Here, I reiterate my condolence for the martyrs and wish a speedy recovery for all the wounded people and immediate release for all prisoners. 

Now after all these deep crises, I reiterate that Kurdistan has not overcome the crisis, the continuation of this failed authority will lead us to more crises. Thus, the sooner the current government resigns the better. Stopping this situation to deteriorate further is the duty of every concerned citizen, to assemble a front to save the country. Today is the day of a deed, tomorrow might be too late. 

The militarization of Kurdish cities and towns, declaring the state of emergency and curfew, is not only unconstitutional and illegal, but it only deteriorates the situation further and widens the gulf between government and society. 

To sum up, we would have liked to return to the parliament and recommence the path we started four years ago.  But the current situation shows that the parliament has changed from an institution of monitoring the government to a party apparatus. Such a parliament is not our wish. In spite of that, I would ask my colleagues in the parliament to not abide to the pressure and to continue to serve the public good and to represent people in earnest.

In the meantime, I apologize for any shortcomings; I would like to thank everyone who contributed positively on this journey, our special thanks to journalists and the independent media. 

After this journey, I could not be prouder. This has been the privilege of my life. I thank God, the Kurdistan people, electorates, my Movement, especially Nawshirwan Mustafa, who trusted us with this duty to fight for rule of law and justice. It is no secret; our role was a great barrier in front of those who wished to impose their personal reign. 

For all these above mentioned reasons and with the agreement of the Gorran Movement, I declare my resignation of the position of the speaker of parliament. 

God bless the people of Kurdistan.

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