The two governing political parties in this country’s long-divided Kurdish region are close to establishing a unified government, senior Kurdish officials said here on Friday. Once they have created a single government in the Kurdish areas of the north, the officials said, they will push for a federalist system in Iraq that will give them broad autonomy in their mountainous region. That vision conflicts with the division of powers being promoted by many Iraqi politicians, who want regional powers divided among smaller provinces throughout the country. Kurdish leaders say they intend to form their unified government well before the Coalition Provisional Authority establishes an Iraqi transitional government at the end of June. That way, the leaders say, the Kurds will speak with one voice in trying to shape the format and the powers of the transitional government. Though the Kurds make up only a fifth of the population, they are now more organized than any other ethnic or religious group in the country, including the Shiites, who make up 60 percent of the population. Full Story
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