Kurdish Islamic Movement convenes joint conference amid factional divide and election controversy
Shafaq News / The Federal Election Commission has compelled the two factions of the Kurdish Islamic Movement to convene a joint conference, which witnessed the participation of a significant number of party members. However, the opposing faction boycotted the conference.
Saad Kolbi, a prominent member of the Kurdish Islamic Movement, revealed in a statement to Shafaq News Agency that "the Kurdish Islamic Movement will hold its founding conference today, as requested by the Federal Election Commission, after the Commission invalidated the results of the Movement's 12th conference due to disputes between the Movement's factions."
Kolbi mentioned that both factions of the Movement, along with approximately 2,000 members who also participated in the 2016 conference, are taking part in the conference. He emphasized that "today, the General Guide of the Movement must be elected, with the election following a system of 51% for the winner, and the results will be binding for all."
However, Kamal Haji Ali, a leader representing the opposing faction within the Movement, announced earlier in the day that he and his supporters would boycott the conference.
The official spokesperson for the opposing faction, Mohammed Baziyani, stated during a press conference that "the reason for not participating in today's conference is that many of our members' names were not included in the list of conference participants, which is a legal violation. Additionally, the agreement made regarding the presence of the Party Affairs Directorate in the Federal Commission has not been implemented."
He confirmed that they would file a complaint with the Commission and would boycott the conference, despite it being convened at their request, as previous breaches had not been addressed.
In a significant development in November 2022, Kamal Haji Ali, who led the splinter faction from the Kurdish Islamic Movement, established a new party and assumed leadership. Meanwhile, the Islamic Movement and the Reform and Development Movement, led by Mohammed Baziyani, announced their merger.
Both sides made this announcement during a joint press conference in al-Sulaymaniyah. During this conference, Kamal Haji Ali was appointed as the new leader of the Islamic Movement.
Kamal Haji Ali stated, "Mohammed Baziyani has been appointed as the spokesperson for the Islamic Movement," and urged Erfan Abdul Aziz to "rectify himself and abide by the Movement's rules."
Last year, the Supreme Election Commission rejected the results of the 12th conference of the Kurdish Islamic Movement, declaring them illegal.
Dr. Mohammed Baziyani, the official spokesperson for the Movement, stated in October 2022 that "the Supreme Election Commission rejected the results of the 12th conference of the Islamic Movement."
He added that the Movement's Consultative Council held a meeting on the same day to discuss the Commission's decision and decided to assign the High Conference Committee to prepare for the 12th conference as soon as possible, emphasizing that the meeting called on all members, especially those who distanced themselves from the party due to what happened during the previous conference.
Following the 12th conference of the Islamic Movement, issues escalated, leading the party's conference committee to remove Erfan Abdul Aziz from leadership and appoint Kamal Haji Ali as the new leader.
The 12th conference subsequently re-elected Erfan Ali Abdul Aziz as the leader for the third time, sparking protests because, according to the rules, Erfan was not eligible for re-nomination. The conference's leadership was decided by a majority of 50% + 1 vote, yet Kamal Haji Ali failed, and the former leader remained in his position.
In a new development, Abdullah Warti, a member of the Political Bureau from Erfan's faction, affirmed that "the individual who spoke on behalf of the Islamic Movement's spokesperson in a recent press conference does not represent the Movement in any capacity."
Warti added, "The conference will be conducted under the supervision of the Election Commission, with their representative present in a legal manner. We are now waiting for the legal quorum to be met for the conference, during which the General Guide of the Movement and the members of the Political Bureau will be elected. Everyone will be bound by the conference's results since it has been agreed upon by all."
He emphasized that "the names of conference attendees were submitted six years ago, and no one else is permitted to enter the hall. The Commission will verify the credentials of all attendees entering the conference hall."
The Kurdish Islamic Movement, founded in 1987 by Mullah Osman Abdul Aziz in Iran, has held 12 conferences to date. In May 2001, Ali Bapir and several other leaders of the Movement separated and announced the establishment of the Kurdistan Islamic Group.
During the parliamentary elections in Kurdistan held in September 2018, the Islamic Movement participated in a joint list with the Islamic Union, but none of its candidates won parliamentary membership. In the same year, when early elections were held, the Islamic Movement boycotted the elections.
The Islamic Movement in Kurdistan is a Kurdish Islamic political movement established in 1987 by a group of Kurdish religious figures during Saddam Hussein's rule. Their goal was to resist the Ba'ath Party and promote Islamic thought while strengthening the Islamic identity of the Kurds. The movement expanded after 1991 following the uprising in which the Kurds gained control of three provinces in the Kurdistan Region.