Tuesday, October 27, 2009

PUK/KDP spent $15 million of “their money” on one district to win the election, says top party official


By Mohammed Ali

The PUK and KDP coalition, known as Kurdistani List, spent $15 million of “their money” on one district to win the election, in which they were humiliated.

In an interview with the Kurdish weekly newspaper Awene, issue 194, 20 October, 2009, Mustafa Chawrash, a Talabani representative and high-ranking member of PUK, admits that his party spent $15,000,000 on the election campaign of 25 July 2009. When asked if it were true that his party had spent that amount of money in the towns of Rania, Qaladeze and Koya, he arrogantly replied, “So what? It is our money and we decide how to spend it!” No one knows why public money becomes the wealth of political parties in Kurdistan? One is led to wonder, “Are the PUK and KDP running the KRG or are the breeders of the Kurdish people?

It is worth mentioning that Chawrash’s party lost in the election, despite spending a huge amount of public money and intimidating the electorate. This admission is only a tiny part of large-scale irregularities that were created directly by PUK and its ally, KDP.

In the second part of the interview with Awene, Mustafa Chawrash stated that he has been authorised by his party to displace individuals from party positions and make recommendations for government positions in the Raparen region. To date, he has displaced the heads of six committees of his party in the region. Above all, Chawrash displaced the head of the PUK branch (Melband) of Rania.

Strangely enough, none of the PUK or KDP top-ranking officials has resigned since their failure in July’s election, and no one dares to hold them accountable for their wrongdoings. However, lower-ranking members are constantly displaced and stripped of position by the leaders of both parties. In another development, the KDP decided to replace 12 people who are in charge of the party’s branches (Liq), local media reported. Again, the top-ranking officials of KDP escape facing responsibility for their failure by always blaming the lower-ranking members instead.

In the same interview with Awene, Chawrash was asked for his view about their failure. He replied in a patronizing way, blaming the Kurdish people for setting their expectations too high. He also stated that, “We are unable to change Kurdistan in 24 hours, to become a city like Paris!”

These answers by the PUK and KDP leaders have led to further disillusionment on the part of the Kurdish people, because the political parties need to learn lessons from their failures, rather than dealing with the consequences of those failures (in this case, the election) arrogantly and by patronizing Kurdish civilians.

Finally, it is the right of the Kurdish people to ask Mustafa Chawrash and his colleagues to reveal the source of the $15,000,000, and to justify their spending in such a way. In addition, would Chawrash’s party and its ally, KDP, ever tell the Kurdish people exactly how much was spent on the whole election campaign of July 2009? (Bear in mind, PUK spent $15,000,000 in the towns of Rania, Qaladeze and Koya, alone!)