ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - As Kurdish parties inch closer towards an agreement on forming a new Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), both Turkmens and Christians have been assured they will be given ministerial posts.
The KRG's Prime Minister-elect Masrour Barzani met with five Turkmen parties and four Christian parties on Saturday, concluding the first round of government formation talks for assembling his upcoming cabinet.
"All the meetings we had today were very good...everyone's rights [in the next cabinet] will be protected,” Barzani told reporters, following his last meeting of the day.
"We had a positive meeting about the involvement of the Turkmen in the next cabinet. Our KDP friends emphasized that the Turkmen will participate in the new cabinet," Aidn Maruf, head of the Turkmen Front in the KRG parliament, told Rudaw.
Maruf said in their meeting with Masrour Barzani, the PM-elect agreed that the post of Minister of Region will be given to the Turkmen.
The post of the second deputy speaker of parliament has also already been held by a Turkmen MP.
"We have a representative in the leadership team of the parliament and will have a representative in the government as well," Maruf said.
Four Turkmen parties hold five parliamentary seats, allocated as part of the quota system for minority representation.
"We are calling for balance between the components in the parliament and government”, Muna Kahveci, head of the Turkmen Reform Party, and second deputy speaker of the parliament, told Rudaw.
She said Turkmen should have other posts like deputy ministers and foreign representatives.
Following his meeting with the Turkmen parties, Barzani met with Christian parties, and guaranteed that they would have a role in the new government.
Jameel Zaito, head of the Chaldean, Assyrian, and Syriac Council, one of the five Christian parties, said his party is ready to accept any cabinet positions the government assigns to them.
However, Zaito added that they still have not been told what ministries will be reserved for Christian representatives.
According to Rudaw's chief correspondent Sangar Abdulrahman, Christians are expected to be handed the post of the Ministry of Transport and Communication.
The Christian parties have already submitted the name of two candidates for the new cabinet to the government according to Zaito.
As government formation drags on, Barzani was in Sulaimani on Monday to consider PUK and Gorran candidates for ministerial posts in his new administration.
On June 12, Nechirvan Barzani, the Kurdistan Region's newly elected president, tasked his cousin Masrour to form a government within 30 days.
"Mindful of the enormity of the task, and of the legitimate needs and hopes of the Kurdistani people, I plan to present my cabinet within the next thirty days and call upon the political parties to recognize their solemn and national responsibility to help complete this process," Masrour Barzani tweeted last week.
Kurdistan Region MPs chose Masrour Barzani as prime minister on Tuesday. He secured 87 votes out of the 97 MPs who attended the session.
The chamber has 111 members, but some opposition MPs boycoted the vote.
In the Kurdistan Region's September 2018 parliamentary election, the KDP emerged as the largest party with 45 seats, followed by the PUK's 21, and Gorran's 12.
According to latest information Rudaw has obtained, in the next cabinet, the KDP will hold eight cabinet positions; the PUK will hold six; Gorran will hold four; and the Socialist Democratic Party, Turkmen, and the Christians will each hold one.
Zhelwan Z. Wali