By Ibrahim Malazada for Al Monitor. Any opinions here are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
On Dec. 14, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) rejected the federal budget for 2017. The government’s statement read, “The budget does not serve the KRG,” and stressed its refusal to abide by the budget, describing it as “a serious political conspiracy against the KRG.”
The Iraqi parliament had voted on the federal budget on Dec. 7 amid intense disputes between the Kurdish parliamentary blocs.
The parliament approved the proposals submitted by four Kurdish blocs — Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the Gorran (Movement for Change), the Kurdistan Islamic Group and the Kurdistan Islamic Union — to include specific clauses obliging Baghdad to deliver the KRG’s share of the budget, amounting to 17% of the total actual spending of the budget.
In exchange, the KRG would be required to export 550,000 barrels of Kirkuk oil and KRG oil every day, exclusively through Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO).
After the vote, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) withdrew from the session because the demand it had officially made through the KRG, to reconsider the budget’s articles about the KRG, had not been taken into account.
This disagreement is an extension of the deep-rooted division between the political parties in the KRG over the presidency and political partnership issues. As a result of this conflict, the KRG parliament has been disrupted and the political process has been paralyzed for more than a year now.
It is safe to say that there are two visions when it comes to managing the KRG. The KDP aims to achieve a kind of sovereignty in terms of selling Kurdish oil itself, and it aspires to become politically independent after achieving economic independence.