Calm Vot­ing and Demo­cratic Com­pe­ti­tion

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - EX­EC­U­TIVE ED­I­TOR

Some thought polling day for the Fourth Round of the Kur­dis­tan Par­lia­ment would be a vi­o­lent com­pe­ti­tion be­tween lists and po­lit­i­cal par­ties, that the two mil­lion eight hun­dred thou­sand peo­ple who have the right to vote would mis­use the elec­tion process and ex­ert par­ti­san pres­sures on one another. Some even thought there would be clashes. But that was not how it turned out. Thanks to the calm and of the rul­ing par­ties and their bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the Op­po­si­tion par­ties and mid­dle groups, the process went by calmly and peace­fully. We should not for­get that the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion Pres­i­dent was quick in call­ing upon KDP sup­port­ers not to re­act neg­a­tively to any ac­cu­sa­tions and not to take of­fence at other par­ties. His ac­tion re­solved half the prob­lems be­fore they even hap­pened.

All in all, 32 dif­fer­ent lists took part in the elec­tion, with a fur­ther two lists with­draw­ing will­ingly from the com­pe­ti­tion. A to­tal of 1 129 can­di­dates par­tic­i­pated in the elec­tion process. Over the last 21 days, Kur­dis­tan’s cities and pub­lic streets were adorned with dozens of col­ors and myr­iad list posters. A host of TV chan­nels added their—un­cen­sored--voices, till cross­ing pri­vate bor­ders , and had they loud and an­gry say. Amidst all this elec­toral ac­tiv­ity, the only vic­tim was the cit­i­zen, who had to lis­ten to all the big words and sharp, sweet speeches. They had been promised ev­ery­thing from the ham­mer and sickle to mosques and good deeds for the next life. Ev­ery can­di­date gave their speeches to the peo­ple, but come polling day, some wanted to ac­cuse the same peo­ple of rig­ging and be­ing sub­mit­ted to po­lit­i­cal par­ties .

The elec­tions were free and calm. This seems to be a strong in­di­ca­tion that the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion is ready for bet­ter con­di­tions than it has at present. There was no po­lit­i­cal pres­sure on the vot­ing process, no abuse of power to change the flow of vot­ing, which was se­cret and hon­est. No one was forced to sell his vote or change his be­liefs.

A good pro­por­tion of the 192 ob­servers and for­eign jour­nal­ists, 500 lo­cal jour­nal­ists and 25 000 party rep­re­sen­ta­tives su­per­vised the process. This is another side of the pu­rity and hon­esty of the elec­tion. It's true that some par­ties filed com­plaints and that there were small vi­o­la­tions in some places, but none of the is­sues was se­ri­ous enough to af­fect the process or de­tract from the achieve­ment—the 2013 elec­tions mark an im­por­tant demo­cratic step and a ba­sis for the fu­ture de­vel­op­ment of Kur­dis­tan.

Even more im­por­tant was the turnout, which was of a level rarely recorded in the Mid­dle East. Serbest Mustafa, the head of the High In­de­pen­dent Elec­tion Com­mis­sion, stated that the turn-out in the fourth round of the Kur­dis­tan Par­lia­ment elec­tion was 73.9%. He also said the gen­eral turnout in the three prov­inces of Hawler, Duhok and Sle­many was 73.9%. The rate was as fol­lows in the prov­inces:

Hewler 71%, Sle­many 73%, Duhok 76.4%. The high turn-out is one of many hope­ful in­di­ca­tors from this elec­tion, but it also con­trasts clearly with the fig­ures from dic­ta­tor­ships in the East, where the win­ner of­ten comes away with 99.99% of the vote.

It's tremen­dously im­por­tant that a na­tion and a coun­try which is not yet in­de­pen­dent can stage a gen­eral elec­tion on time, with dif­fer­ent and var­i­ous par­ties, na­tions, re­li­gious and eth­nic groups and dif­fer­ent ide­olo­gies tak­ing part freely in the elec­tion. Be­cause, here, win­ning seats is not as im­por­tant as win­ning the game of democ­racy and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an hon­est and suc­cess­ful elec­tion process. Be­cause what we saw on Septem­ber 21 was noth­ing short of an open and trust­wor­thy demo­cratic process. No one was pe­nal­ized for their vote, thoughts or fin­ger­prints. No one was threat­ened, and ev­ery party and rep­re­sen­ta­tive was judged equally at the bal­lot box. Who wins is not im­por­tant--the Kurds in gen­eral, and all the peo­ple of Kur­dis­tan in­clud­ing Kurds, Assyr­i­ans, Kil­dans, Turk­mans, and ev­ery re­li­gion won. So it isn’t just the suc­cess­ful rep­re­sen­ta­tives who have won—it is all the peo­ple of this re­gion who dream of in­de­pen­dence who have won glory, democ­racy, con­fi­dence and the trust of the de­vel­oped world.

The KDP list (110) is ex­pected to emerge the strong­est and win the 2013 elec­tion for the Kur­dis­tan Par­lia­ment.

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