Calm Voting and Democratic Competition
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.