Po­lit­i­cal par­ties start cam­paign­ing for the elec­tions

The Pres­i­dent of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, Ma­soud Barzani, calls for elec­tion cam­paigns that re­spect the law

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE - By Zakaria Muhammed

After the In­de­pen­dent High Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (IHEC) ap­proved the names of 1,129 can­di­dates for the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion’s par­lia­men­tary elec­tions on Au­gust 27, the elec­tion cam­paign started on Au­gust 28. Ac­cord­ing to the rules in force, the cam­paign will end 48 hours be­fore the elec­tions take place.

Se­ri­ous doubts had been cast on the pro­posed elec­tion date, par­tic­u­larly since the Pa­tri­otic Union of Kur­dis­tan (PUK) and the three main op­po­si­tion par­ties com­plained that the voter lists in­cluded the names of many dead peo­ple.

Al­though some PUK of­fi­cials re­mained op­posed to the elec­tions tak­ing place if the voter list is­sue re­mains un­solved, all par­ties even­tu­ally wel­comed the com­mis­sion’s fi­nal de­ci­sion and sub­mit­ted their can­di­date lists.

The Kur­dis­tan Re­gion is now fully pre­pared, and will pro­ceed with­out de­lay with par­lia­men­tary elec­tions on Septem­ber 21.

In a mes­sage at the start of the elec­tion cam­paign in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, Pres­i­dent Barzani urged cit­i­zens and all po­lit­i­cal par­ties to en­sure that the elec­tion cam­paign is con­ducted in a peace­ful and suc­cess­ful man­ner.

In his mes­sage, the Pres­i­dent said: “We ap­proach the Kur­dis­tan par­lia­men­tary elec­tions with great hopes and con­fi­dence that this process will fur­ther en­rich the demo­cratic process in our coun­try. Re­spect­ing demo­cratic tra­di­tions, the wel­fare of our cit­i­zens and so­cial peace is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of all of us."

Dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal par­ties have be­gun their cam­paigns us­ing dif­fer­ent tools and tac­tics. PUK and the Gor­ran Move­ment have launched spe­cial TV chan­nels to broad­cast their elec­tions ac­tiv­i­ties and to pro­mote their can­di­dates.

In his first state­ment since the an­nounce­ment of the cam­paign, the Gor­ran Move­ment Leader, Noshir­wan Mustafa, said: “Gor­ran is work­ing on tak­ing power in the up­com­ing elec­tions. Gor­ran has a work­ing pro­gram which it will ap­ply when it forms a govern­ment.”

Al­though the KDP post­poned its elec­toral cam­paign­ing for five days, the party sec­re­tary, Fazil Mi­rani, said: “We want to win 40 seats in the forth­com­ing elec­tions; PUK is still able to win a lot of votes.”

In ad­di­tion to the par­ties’ po­lit­i­cal mes­sages, other gov­ern­men­tal and non-govern­ment in­sti­tu­tions have is­sued state- ments en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to play an ac­tive role in the elec­tions, but not to cause prob­lems. The Kur­dis­tan Is­lamic Schol­ars Union also is­sued a state­ment ask­ing the peo­ple and par­ties of Kur­dis­tan to take part in the elec­tions peace­fully, and stat­ing that mosques should not to be used for elec­toral cam­paign­ing.

The par­lia­men­tary elec­tions will be held across the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion on 21 Septem­ber 2013, and more than 1 000 can­di­dates from 27 po­lit­i­cal par­ties and in­de­pen­dents will com­pete for the 111 seats in the Iraqi Kur­dis­tan Par­lia­ment.

The Kur­dis­tan Na­tional Assem­bly was es­tab­lished in 1992 in the first free and fair elec­tions ever held in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion or in any part of Iraq.

To date, there have been three par­lia­ments fol­low­ing elec­tions in 1992, 2005 and in July 2009. In 2009, the Kur­dis­tan Na­tional Assem­bly was re­named the Kur­dis­tan Par­lia­ment.

The cur­rent Kur­dis­tan Par­lia­ment is the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion's demo­crat­i­cally elected leg­is­la­ture. The par­lia­ment con­sists of one elected cham­ber. Its three main func­tions are ex­am­in­ing pro­pos­als for new laws, scru­ti­niz­ing govern­ment pol­icy and ad­min­is­tra­tion, and de­bat­ing the ma­jor is­sues of the day.

The found­ing prin­ci­ples of the par­lia­ment are lib­erty, plu­ral­ism, ac­count­abil­ity, in­clu­sive­ness, open­ness and the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of all peo­ples in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.

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