The roots of clientelism in Iraqi Kurdistan and the efforts to fight it

Abstract

This study examines the roots of clientelism in Iraqi Kurdistan and the effort to fight it. The clientelism system exists when a kind of deal is struck between those in power and clients in society who agree to exchange benefits. The political issues in Kurdistan particularly, corruption and lack of social justice have historical roots as a result of the accumulation of problems that have not been resolved by the client system that is adopted by the two political parties in power, namely the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Democratic Party of Kurdistan (KDP). The two political parties have monopolised the public sector, the Peshmerga and Security forces, as well as the economy, they have succeeded in controlling the larger part of society through clientelism. In hence, they used public funds, jobs and posts to buy people’s votes and loyalty. The opposition parties have been unable to exert pressure on the ruling parties who can buy the affiliation of people through the use of public finance. The opposition and independent media began to play a large role in highlighting the corruption and the client system.

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