Iraqi Kurdish Bloc’s Interest Spreads Well Beyond Presidency

KDP willing to trade presidency for Kirkuk governorship

This week, it is generally expected that Iraq’s parliament will elect a new president. The post traditionally (since the US invasion and occupation) goes to a Kurd, but the Kurdish Democrats (KDP), the largest Kurdish party, are facing competition for the spot.

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) is competing hard for the presidency, while the KDP is trying to ally with cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, with an eye toward cutting a deal.

Under the deal, PUK would get the presidency they want, and the KDP would get the governor of Kirkuk. Since the ISIS war the Kurds have sought to reestablish control over the oil-rich Kirkuk, and while the governorship wouldn’t formally move the province into the Kurdistan region, it would give them some control.

The KDP views Kirkuk as a key to protecting the Kurdish capital of Irbil, and even without economic control, the governorship would present opportunities for security cooperation in the area.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of