Bafel Talabani says PUK no longer ‘groups’ that use party for personal interests

PUK Co-President Bafel Talabani speaks to attendants of Kurdistan Region of Iraq: Unity and Constitution Conference in Erbil, May 19, 2021.

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Co-president of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) said on Tuesday the party is no longer “groups or gangs” that use party for their personal interests.

Talabani said during a meeting with a group of figures from the Kokayi tribe that the decisions made by the PUK recently were to serve the public and to reorganize the party’s organs.

He further said they would expand the PUK’s programs to further serve people in the Kurdistan Region.

“The PUK, which is the PUK of people, must implement its duty which is to serve people, and [it is] no longer groups or gangs that use party for personal interests,” Talabani added.

He also called on the Kokayi tribe to support the PUK in the upcoming parliamentary elections in Iraq.

Iraqi voters are to elect a new parliament next Sunday in the fifth such vote since a U.S.-led invasion toppled dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003.

A total of 329 seats are up for grabs in the election, which was moved forward from 2022 as a concession to youth-led pro-democracy protests that erupted in late 2019.

There are fears voter turnout could drop below the 44.5 percent figure registered in 2018.

*Corrects name of the tribe in second and fifth paragraphs to Kokayi, not Koki

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