December 1, 2020 | finance & economy

Kurdistan parliament ends session on youth migration as MPs demand budget talks

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A second attempt at a Kurdistan Region parliament meeting on youth migration came to an abrupt end on Monday, with MPs instead demanding sessions on budget talks.

There was an initial session on youth migration on Thursday, which was disputed for three hours by parliamentarians who wanted to prioritize budget talks and discuss the ongoing oil-for-budget dispute with Baghdad. It was then rescheduled to Monday.

MPs reportedly started banging on their desk in protest on Monday, forcing the session to come to an end once again.

“Why do the youth immigrate? Isn’t it because they don’t receive their salaries?” Abdulsattar Majid, head of the Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIU/Komal) bloc told Rudaw’s Snoor Majid on Monday.

“We want to discuss the issue that is related to the people, they [parliament presidency] want to discuss the outcomes of the issue,” he added, saying that “the parliament doesn’t represent the people.”

The KRG has struggled to pay civil servant salaries in full and on time for five years, amid the war against the Islamic State (ISIS) and a drop in oil prices.

Erbil relies on its share of the Iraqi budget to pay civil servants, who have gone months without pay this year. It failed to deliver October salaries to public employees on its payroll after Baghdad refused to send the Kurdistan Region’s budget share for the months of October and November upon the recent passing of a controversial fiscal deficit bill.

“We will do everything in our power to suspend parliament meetings until the people’s livelihoods are discussed,” said Ali Hama Salih, head of the Change Movement (Goran) bloc.

The parliament's next topic of discussion “should be civil servants’ salaries,” Omed Khoshnaw, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) bloc, told reporters in a post-session press conference.

Current issues “won’t be resolved by banging on desks” or creating tension and chaos, he added.

The Wednesday session was rescheduled to an unknown date, Parliament Secretary Muna Kahveci said in a statement on Monday, saying the parliament presidency has asked senior officials and the delegation responsible for negotiations with Baghdad to participate in the meeting.


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