Just shy of 7 months since the Kurdistan Parliamentary elections in September. An agreement to form a new government was finally reached. After shifting of the political landscape and breaking the status quo, forming a government was always going to be difficult and protracted, but even by this token the lengthy delay was a disappointing blemish for Kurdistan.
Throughout the past few months, there have been many false dawns. Only last week there was growing hope that an inclusive government incorporating all the five main parties would be formed. Less than week later, this proved to be a false expectation as the political picture took another twist but at least a government will now be formed.
KDP and Gorran announced an agreement for a new coalition government along with the Islamic League (Komal). Crucially, this left the PUK on the sidelines with the official line that the PUK is still mulling over it options but clearly the PUK would be disappointed at developments with its options now to swallow pride and accept what it is given on the table or declare its opposition.
The Islamic Union (Yekgirtu) also remained undecided on its participation in the new coalition government.
Either way, the prospect of a parliament session reconvening next week is a welcome boost for Kurdistan just days before the Iraqi national elections and Kurdistan provincial elections.
In democracy, any political party has its ups and downs and the idea of pleasing every party is a non-starter.
If the cabinet is going to be divided in manner to appease all parties then why hold elections in the first place? Why would a political party care if takes a blow at the polls if it is able to secure its desired number of positions anyway?
This is particularly true of the PUK who finished third in the elections. The PUK must now regroup, change its strategy and win back lost voters. This is the trace of a true democracy and happens in every major western country. The PUK remains influential but cannot cling on outdated strategic agreements or demand an equitable distribution of posts.
As for Gorran, participation in the new government completes a remarkable transformation. They stood for change, for transparency, for reform and for a different Kurdistan. A substantial number of voters signed up to their manifesto, but can Gorran now deliver?
Playing the opposition or running a joint government are different matters. Politics can be very fickle and Gorran is now in a position where it can continue its ascendency or find itself in the opposition shadows come the next election.
Gorran has been the given the platform to implement change and its election programme with the ministries it has secured. It has secured the vital ministries of Peshmerga, Economy and Finance, Trade and Industry, Endowment & Religious Affairs, Chairmanship of the Investment Board as wells as the speaker of parliament.
Control of the Peshmerga ministry was vital for Gorran. Historically the Peshmerga forces have been dominated by the KDP and PUK. In fact the PUK still has strong influence over security, even if its voter base has dwindled. Gorran can now play a leading role in creating state security forces.
The KDP and Gorran have agreed on a set of principles that bodes well for Kurdistan. Timely and measured implementation of these reforms is now vital. A bold and encompassing strategy should be matched with real action and not just rhetoric and lengthy implementation
With Kurdistan holding its first provincial elections in eight years, this will further placate changes in the Kurdistan political landscape.
Changes in legislature mean that provincial councils will have more power. As such provincial elections have taken on much more significance for Kurds than the Iraqi national elections that are unlikely to result in any real change in Baghdad from a Kurdish perspective. This is demonstrated by election campaigns throughout Erbil focusing on candidates securing provincial votes.