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Kurdistan Democratic Party
Partiya Demokrata Kurdistanê
پارتیا دەمۆکراتا کوردستانێ
الحزب الديمقراطي الكردستاني
الاتحاد الوطني کوردستان
Leader Massoud Barzani
Founded August 16, 1946
Headquarters Hewler
Ideology Kurdish nationalism, social democracy, democratic socialism
International affiliation Alliance of Democrats
Official colors Yellow

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) (Kurdish: Partîya Demokrata Kurdistan (PDK)) is one of the main Kurdish parties in South Kurdistan. It was founded in 1946 in Silemani, and immediately elected Mustafa Barzani, a Kurdish nationalist who fought numerous revolts against Baghdad, as its president in absentium.



A party called KDP was established in Eastern Kurdistan in 1946 upon the creation of the Kurdistan Republic of Mahabad, which lasted for less than a year. On the same day, 16 August 1946, a party with the same name was created in the city of Silemani. The KDP party of Eastern Kurdistan has since been called the KDP-I. In the founding congress the KDP stated that the political and economic situation of the Kurds in Iraq was different from that of Iran. It demanded autonomy for the Kurds of Iraq. Although he was not present Mulla Mustafa Barzani was elected as the president of the party,Kaka Ziad and Sheikh Latif were appointed as vice presidents. Hamza Abdullah was elected its Secretary-General.

Hamza Abdallah was expelled in January 1953 and established a party called the Kurdistan Democratic Party - Progressive Front. He and his followers were allowed to return to KDP in 1956.[1]

In 1961 the KDP launched its first armed rebellion against Iraq, which ended in 1961. A second war started in 1974, which resulted in Jalal Talebani and Nawshirwan Mustafa splitting from the organisation to create the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan which launched its own anti-Iraqi insurgency. On 1979 Mustafa Barzani died and his son Massoud Barzani took over as the leader, continuing the Kurdish insurgency until after the 1991 uprisings in Iraq in aftermath of the Gulf War. By October 1991 the KDP's Peshmerga were able to operate with relative impunity in the no-fly zone of Northern Iraq, creating a de facto independent Kurdish state in Northern Iraq.

The KDP won the most votes in the Kurdish Elections of 1992, winning 45% of the vote and 51 out of 104 seats, however they gave 1 seat to the PUK so they both had 50. The two parties established the Kurdistan Regional Government, which collapsed in 1994 sparking a Kurdish Civil War.

In May 1994, supporters of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) clashed with supporters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), leaving 300 people dead. Relations among the groups soured in March 1995 when the KDP backed out of an attack on Saddam's front lines led by Iraqi National Congress. Over the next year the PUK and KDP fought several more times, eventually devolving into a state of civil war. In August 1996, leaders of the KDP asked the former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein to intervene in the war. Hussein sent at least 30,000 troops into the UN-protected Kurdish Region, capturing the PUK stronghold of Hewler. The KDP was immediately installed in power.[citation needed] The U.S. responded with two missile strikes against Southern Iraq, but in early September Iraq again helped KDP fighters, this time taking the PUK stronghold of Silemani. After Saddam's move against them in 1996, about 700 Iraqi National Congress activists and fighters were evacuated to the US, along with 6,000 pro-Western Kurds.

The fighting left over a thousand persons dead and forced thousands of civilians from their homes. A ceasefire established on 24 November 1997, ended the fighting for the remainder of the year, albeit with a few sporadic clashes. The cease-fire resulted in the establishment of two Kurdish governments, a KDP-led administration in Hewler with Massoud Barzani as President and his nephew Nechervan Barzani as prime minister and a PUK-led administration in Silmani with Jalal Talebani as President of Iraq and Barham Salih as Prime Minister of Kurdistan.[2]

Both Kurdish groups fought alongside the Coalition of the Willing in the 2003 invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein's regime. In 2005, the KDP and PUK united to form a joint administration and a joint list in the elections in Democratic Patriotic Alliance of Kurdistan, under which it contested the January 2005 Iraqi elections, the 2005 Iraqi governorate elections the December 2005 Iraqi Elections and the 2005 Kurdish Elections. DPAK became the biggest list in Kurdistan and second biggest in Iraq. After this Barzani became President of Kurdistan and Talebani became President of Iraq.[1]

The KDP, alongside with the PUK, has had a number of members criticized for personally using a large amount of money and property that was set aside for government purposes.[citation needed]

The current flag of the KDP

In 2009 the KDP and PUK's joint list ran in the Iraqi Governorate Elections winning 12 seats in Ninawa and 6 in Diyala. For the 2009 Kurdistan Election the DPAK collapsed and a new list was established, the Kurdistan List, which included only the KDP and PUK. After the defection of Nawshirwan Mustafa and his supporters from the PUK, the PUK was heavily weakened, making the KDP the biggest party in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Kurdistan alliance still won a 59 seat majority in the 111 seat parliament.[3]

Political Ideology

The KDP ranges from centrist to a centre-left position. Most of the members are Social Liberals, Social Democrats, and a smaller number of Democratic Socialists. The KDP is a member of the Alliance of Democrats, and participates in some meetings of the Socialist International.

See also



Kurdistan Democratic Party may refer to:


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