Lahur Talabany, co-president of the Patriotic Union Kurdistan (PUK), has agreed to step aside and hand over all his powers to his rival co-chair and cousin Bafel Talabani following a recent rift between them, according to a party memo issued on Saturday.
“Co-president Lahur Sheikh Jangi has handed over all his powers to co-chair Bafel Talabani until the bylaw is amended,” read the document published by an unofficial PUK Facebook page and confirmed to Shkoi Kurdistan by a politburo member.
The decision was made on Thursday when the two party leaders and politburo members met to resolve tensions between the cousins, a few days after Bafel Talabani appeared to force Lahur Talabany out of his position.
PUK media did not report the handover, but said the politburo in the meeting reached a decision to solve the problem and protect the unity of the party.
Lahur Talabany and Bafel Talabani were elected as co-chairs of the PUK in February 2020, following years of wrangling within the party over who would succeed the late Jalal Talabani, who died in 2017. Earlier this week, Bafel Talabani appeared to force his cousin out when he removed top security officials affiliated to Lahur Talabany and raided his media outlets.
In a meeting with families of martyrs in Sulaimani on Thursday, Lahur Talabany prioritized party loyalty.
“I reiterate that the PUK is a party of its loyal members, cadres and supporters, and that the future will be for the PUK and it will always remain at the top for as long as the PUK has this loyal and caring base,” he said.
On Friday, Qubad Talabani, deputy prime minister of the Kurdistan Region and Bafel’s brother, met with administrative officials from Sulaimani governorate, which the PUK controls, and said a shakeup is coming “and the core of the changes will be based on ability, loyalty and service” in order to improve public service.