Political parties start campaigning for the elections
The President of the Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani, calls for election campaigns that respect the law
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.