Monday, January 30, 2012

Opposition MP resigns over scandal

ERBIL –  A member of the Kurdish parliament from the opposition Gorran [change] Movement resigned from parliament following a scandal which outraged his party leaders. Earlier in January 37 parliamentarians, four from Gorran, tried to buy government property on the cheap.

Ismael Galali is the only Gorran MP out of the four to resign from parliament. Last week the other three resigned from the Gorran party, saying they would form a new bloc in parliament to continue their work.

Karwan Salih, Paiman Abdul Karim and Abdul Rahman Hussein said they did not seek to deceive the public and try to own the housing provided for MPs during their work for the parliament. Rather they said they believed parliament should sell the houses to the MPs if it plans to sell them.

The scandal was first reported in a local weekly newspaper Awene. The 37 MPs, most of  them from the ruling parties, signed a petition addressed to parliament's speaker, demanding he allow the MPs own the houses for only $200,000 USD (233 million IQD), the original cost of the houses. But the homes are worth over $600,000 USD (699 million IQD) according to market prices.

The resignation of the Gorran MP, Ismael Galali, comes after Gorran leader Nawshirwan Mustafa criticized the MPs and called on them to explain themselves to the public. He demanded they apologize because under the party's guidelines they were elected by the people to fight corruption.

If the legislators were unwilling to explain themselves Mustafa offered them the choice to fall on their swords. A preferable option for Galali, unlike the other three.

Gorran welcomed Galali's decision to step down in a statement which also quotes Galali as saying the attempt to buy the government house was a mistake.