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New Kirkuk governor will be decided soon: PUK By Rudaw 23 hours ago Khalid Shwani’s name has been floated as a possible candidate for the post of Kirkuk governor. File photo: Rudaw ERBIL, Kurdistan – A new candidate for the post of Kirkuk governor has been floated by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) as the province remains in political limbo and objections were raised about the PUK’s first nominee. The PUK and KDP expect to reach an agreement on the candidate soon. “The position of Kirkuk’s governor is for the Kurds and it’s the PUK’s share. Among the names discussed, Khalid Shwani is a very suitable candidate because he is from Kirkuk and is familiar with the place,” Salah Dalo, a member of Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) politburo, told Rudaw on Tuesday. Political posts in the disputed province are shared among the ethnic groups with the position of governor given to the Kurds. Khalid Shwani was previously a member of the Iraqi parliament within the PUK faction. He is currently a member of the party’s politburo. His name was floated in talks between the PUK and KDP, the two ruling parties in the Kurdistan Region. Shwani said on Tuesday he has not been broached on the subject, however. An Iraqi court ordered Kirkuk’s Kurdish governor Najmaldin Karim removed from his post ahead of the September referendum because of his support for the independence vote and backing the decision to raise the Kurdistan flag in the disputed province earlier in the 2017. Karim left the city when the Iraqi army took over in mid-October and Baghdad assigned Rakan al-Jabouri, an Arab, as interim governor. PUK had first suggested Rizgar Ali to fill the position, but the KDP has opposed his candidacy, claiming he belongs to the group that “sold” Kirkuk to Baghdad. The final decision rests with the PUK, Dalo explained. PUK’s spokesperson Saad Pira said they are not in dispute with the KDP over the position. “We will soon decide on who will become the governor,” said Pira in a statement to Rudaw on Tuesday. Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, also deputy head of the KDP, confirmed the two parties have discussed the matter, “but we are yet to reach a decision. There will be more meetings on the matter,” he told reporters on Monday. Kirkuk’s Provincial Council has failed to meet regularly since the disputed province came under Iraqi control in mid-October and many of the Kurdish parties fled the city. The KDP did not attend a meeting of the Kurdish parties in Kirkuk on Monday. The party has said they won’t attend a meeting in the city because it is “occupied.” The KDP has asked for the provincial council to meet at a location outside of Kirkuk. Meanwhile, Kurdish parties have said the provincial council is essentially defunct and have accused the acting Governor Jabouri of exploiting the power void. There are also concerns of a new wave of Arabization taking place.