Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)

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The Erbil-based Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is the official and democratically elected executive body of the Kurdistan Region, also known as Iraqi Kurdistan. An autonomous region of Iraq since 1992, Iraqi Kurdistan reconstituted itself as a federal region upon the ratification of the new 2005 Iraqi constitution.[1]

Rather than the technical service agreements offered by the central government, the KRG instead offers production sharing contracts (PSCs) to investors in the region, perceived by many as more generous to international companies, according to industry analyst Derek Brower.[2]

Government structure and leadership

The President of the KRG, who delegates executive powers to the cabinet, is directly elected.[3] The cabinet selects the head of the legislature, the Prime Minister.[4]

The KRG's President Massoud Barzani was elected in 2005[5] and re-elected in 2009 with 71 percent of the vote. Prior to this he was leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), one of the main parties controlling the region since 1991. During the 1990s the KDP was at war with the other leading political faction in the region, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), under the leadership of Jalal Talabani.[6] Talabani went on to be elected President of Iraq in 2005.[7]

As of December 2012 Nechirvan Barzani was Prime Minister of the Kurdistan region, a man who Time magazine credited with the growing Turkish-Kurdish rapprochement.[8] The region's Natural Resources Minister as of December 2012 was Ashti Hawrami.[9]

The Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament examines proposals for new laws, scrutinizes government policy and administration, and debates major issues that concern the region. Although the regional Parliament shares legislative power with the Iraqi federal government, priority is given to regional laws in matters that relate to customs, electric energy and its distribution, general planning, and internal water resources. Elections are held at least every four years.[10]

Relations with central government

Over recent years relations between the central government and the KRG have deteriorated, provoked by contracts signed between oil majors and the KRG, viewed as illegal by the government in Baghdad.

According to media site Al-Monitor, this can be attributed to a number of reasons, one being the complete breakdown of trust between the two sides, particularly the damaged relationship between Nouri al-Maliki and Massoud Barzani, aggravated by strings of accusations.[11]

Aside from this, leaders in Baghdad have disputed the right for the Kurds to export the oil they produce, outside of the centrally controlled infrastructure. Furthermore, the KRG claims control over large areas of disputed territories and has enlisted international oil companies (IOCs) to explore and produce in these areas, which overlap the boundaries of Nineve, Kirkuk, Salahaddin and Diyala provinces. In late 2012 Iraq Oil Report reported that the central government and the Kurds came close to open conflict when both deployed troops near the contested border area between north and south, on territory where US companies ExxonMobil and Hunt Oil had agreed to drill.

However officials on both sides of the conflict have said that war is not in either side's interest and may be a consequence of the heated run-up to provincial and national elections in 2013-14.[12] In December 2012 the two sides agreed to gradually withdraw their troops from the disputed territories. However according to Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News, the clash raised questions about Baghdad’s federal unity with the KRG.[13]

External Links

Official website: www.krg.org

References

  1. "About the Kurdistan Regional Government" KRG Retrieved 18 November 2011.
  2. "About the Kurdistan Regional Government" Petroleum Economist, 13 December 2012.
  3. "Kurdisan Region Presidency" KRG, retrieved 23 November 2011.
  4. "Prime Minister Salih pledges renewal as cabinet is sworn in" KRG website 29 October 2009.
  5. "Masoud Barzani" KRG 27 June 2007.
  6. "Massoud Barzani - Fast Facts" CNN, 14 December 2012.
  7. "Jalal Talabani" New York Times, 18 December 2012.
  8. "An Interview with Nechirvan Barzani: Will There Be an Independent Kurdistan?" Time, 21 December 2012.
  9. "About the Kurdistan Regional Government" Petroleum Economist, 13 December 2012.
  10. "The Kurdistan Parliament" KRG Retrieved 30 November 2006.
  11. "Baghdad-KRG Relations Go from Bad to Worse" Al-Monitor, 16 December 2012.
  12. "Disputed oil drilling could provoke war" Iraq Oil Report, 12 December 2012.
  13. "Baghdad, KRG agree to withdraw soldiers from disputed area" Hurriyet Daily News, 15 December 2012.