Articles

Only two coalitions have submitted lists for elections: IHEC

Dilan Sirwan

Mar. 27, 2024
Image of Only two coalitions have submitted lists for elections: IHEC Iraqi election officials conduct the electronic count of votes at a polling station in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, Oct. 10, 2021. (photo by Safin Hamed/AFP )

Only two coalitions have submitted electoral lists for Kurdistan Region elections, with tensions between leading parties KDP and PUK casting doubt on the election's legitimacy.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region of Iraq - Only two coalitions have submitted their electoral lists to the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) for the Kurdistan Regional elections with only one day left until the deadline of submissions as the fate of the elections remains unclear.

Speaking to The New Region on Wednesday, IHEC spokesperson Jumana al-Ghalayi said that up to Tuesday, only two coalitions had submitted their lists for the upcoming Kurdistan Regional elections.

“Only one political party in Sulaimani and another in Halabja have submitted their lists,” Ghalayi said, adding that a total of 36 individual candidates have also submitted their candidacy forms.

According to Ghalayi, 11 people in Erbil have submitted a candidacy request in Erbil to run independently, adding that Sulaimani and Duhok provinces also have 13 and 12 independent submissions respectively.

The deadline for parties and coalitions to submit their list of candidates for the Kurdistan Regional elections set for June 10 ends on Thursday, with the IHEC having no intention to extend the time for submissions.

However with such little time left, the fate of the elections remains unclear amid tensions between the Region’s leading political parties.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), who for years has ruled the Region, earlier this month announced that they would withhold from participating in the elections, defining it as “pre-designed”.

“Our decision is that we are not participating in a pre-designed election by an unconstitutional body which is called the federal court in Iraq,” KDP politburo member Hemn Hawrami told The New Region in an interview on Monday.

The KDP’s decision comes in light of a February Federal Supreme Court ruling that removed 11 minority quota seats from the Kurdish legislature and further ruled that the Region’s elections be held over four constituencies as opposed to one.

The court’s ruling came as a result of a lawsuit by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and another Christian party in Sulaimani filed against several articles from the Kurdistan Region’s electoral law.

The PUK had previously claimed that the Kurdistan Region’s ruling KDP uses those quota seats for their benefit, increasing their dominance in the parliament. The KDP has on several occasions denied such claims.

“Taking Kurdistan issues into Baghdad, using the federal court, this unconstitutional body, to weaponize it for your internal political competition with KDP, it was a strategic mistake,” Hawrami said regarding the PUK’s decision to raise a case in Baghdad. “If you have a political competition with KDP, stay in the course, play according to the rules of the game within the democratic competition in Kurdistan Region.”

“KDP is not the political party to be afraid of holding elections, we want to hold free, fair elections,” he added.

With only one day left for submitting electoral lists to the IHEC, the KDP’s conditions to participate in the elections are yet to be met, and their abstention would further jeopardize the possibility of a legitimate election in the Region as they have time and again gained majority seats in the Region.

The Kurdistan Region was initially scheduled to hold elections in October 2022, but they were later pushed to November 2023 due to disagreements between the Region’s political parties over the electoral law.

Following a verdict by the court in May 2023 against the Regional parliament’s self-extension of its tenure by one year, the election dates were once again delayed, this time to February 2024, however delay in the court’s rulings in February led to an extra delay of the election date, this time to June 10.

 

 

 

 

 

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Author Dilan Sirwan

Dilan Sirwan is an Erbil-based Kurdish journalist covering Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. He focuses on political, economic, and social issues.

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