Iraqi PM clings to election schedule, promises to pay Kurdish employees

Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi

Baghdad ( Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi remained adamant to run parliament and local elections on time, also promising to resolve pending issues with Kurdistan Region, including employees salaries.

Speaking during his weekly press briefing on Tuesday, Abadi said there will be “no postponement of elections at all”.

Some Sunni groups have shown a preference to call off elections which the Cabinet had slated for May 12th in order to give time to civilians displaced by the war against the Islamic State militants to repatriate and vote.

The parliament is slated to hold a session on Thursday to discuss differences on the election’s law and schedule, but the session is susceptible to postponement.

Speaking about the crisis with Kurdistan Region , Abadi said his government remains eager to resolve all disputes with Erbil. “We seek to resolve all pending issues with Kurdistan Region, and we are serious about disbursing the salaries of all of the region’s employees,” Abadi said.

Representatives of the governments of Baghdad and Erbil have exchanged visits over the past week to resolve pending issues which resulted from a poll the region held in September, in which a majority voted for independence from Iraq, a development which Baghdad deemed unconstitutional and prompted it to take over disputed areas and border crossings, and to impose an air embargo on Kurdistan.

The payment of Kurdish employees’ salaries had been another contentious issue between both governments. Baghdad has asked Erbil to make an accurate count of its employees, and has suggested that the region pays the salaries from its oil exports’ revenues. Erbil, meanwhile, argues that the revenues would not suffice for the payments, and had also objected to its share in the proposed federal budget.


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