Votes of peo­ple and cit­i­zens of Kur­dis­tan proved who can pre­serve value and de­fend peo­ple’s aims

Mah­mood Muhammed, mem­ber of Kur­dis­tan Demo­cratic Party’s polit­buro:

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Mah­mud Mham­mad, mem­ber of KDP's polit­buro and head of KDP's cul­tural and me­dia of­fice said in an in­ter­view with The Kur­dish Globe:" As we saw, KDP had a dif­fer­ent pro­gram for cam­paign and pub­li­ciz­ing, ini­tially, we started later than other par­ties, the aim was to in­ten­sify the cam­paign and not to dis­turb Kur­dish cit­i­zens. Mean­while, we think that two weeks for cam­paign­ing is suit­able, but not more. We paid more at­ten­tion to cam­paign­ing through mass me­dia (TVs, ra­dios, news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines). Dur­ing th­ese two weeks, we didn't ini­tially per­formed the cam­paigns on the streets, in the last days of the cam­paign we started us­ing the streets. This was for pre­sent­ing a new and civ­i­lized im­age and con­sid­er­ing the tem­per and feel­ing of our peo­ple and not to dis­turb them. We also cared about en­vi­ron­ment, tak­ing into ac­count the tran­quil­ity, nor­mal­ity and the demo­cratic com­pe­ti­tion among lists and po­lit­i­cal blocs and those who par­tic­i­pated in the process.

where pri­or­ity was given to guar­an­tee­ing the trans­parency and moder­nity of the process. Im­por­tant as it was for us for all po­lit­i­cal par­ties to par­tic­i­pate freely in the elec­tion, we were even more con­cerned with main­tain­ing calm and re­spect­ing the will and de­ter­mi­na­tion of Kur­dish cit­i­zen, so they would not be dis­turbed and their civil and le­gal rights would not be vi­o­lated in this im­por­tant process.

As we saw from the very first mo­ments the vot­ing process was fi­nal­ized, since the IHEC de­cided not to ex­tend the vot­ing pe­riod, po­lit­i­cal par­ties-and es­pe­cially the Op­po­si­tion--con­grat­u­lated them­selves on the suc­cess of the vot­ing process. How­ever, later on, when the re­sults were an­nounced, they started shoot­ing and were on the brink of call­ing the re­sults into ques­tion. In fact, the process was a good and demo­cratic one, and lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional ob­servers and or­ga­ni­za­tions ver­i­fied the va­lid­ity of the process. Ob­vi­ously, we can­not deny that there were some vi­o­la­tions, but th­ese can gen­er­ally be viewed in the con­text of pun­ish­ing a party or a per- In the elec­tion for the fourth round of the Kur­dis­tan Par­lia­ment, the com­pe­ti­tion be­tween lists and blocs was keen, calm and demo­cratic. In the KDP strongholds, es­pe­cially, the at­mos­phere cre­ated was one that al­lowed the elec­tion cam­paign to pro­ceed calmly.

Mah­mud Mham­mad, a mem­ber of the KDP's Po­lit­i­cal Com­mit­tee and head of the KDP Cul­ture and Me­dia Of­fice, said in an in­ter­view with the Kur­dish Globe:" As we saw, the KDP ran a dif­fer­ent type of cam­paign from the other par­ties. We started later than the other par­ties, and our aim was to in­ten­sify the cam­paign, not to dis­rupt the lives of Kur­dish cit­i­zens. More­over, we think that two weeks of cam­paign­ing is apt—any more would be ex­ces­sive. We fo­cused on cam­paign­ing through the mass me­dia (TV, ra­dio and the Press). We didn't do any street cam­paign­ing un­til the last days of the cam­paign, be­cause we wanted to present a new and civ­i­lized im­age; we wanted to take the feel­ings of our peo­ple into con­sid­er­a­tion and not dis­turb them. We were also con­cerned about the en­vi­ron­ment, and sought to fur­ther tran­quil­ity, nor­mal­ity and demo­cratic com­pe­ti­tion be­tween lists and po­lit­i­cal blocs.

Stress­ing the im­por­tance of how the cam­paign was con­ducted, he said “Our aim was to de­liver the KDP pro­gram to peo­ple, but also to re­spect oth­ers' opin­ions and not to de­fame them. This stems from our be­lief in free­dom of par­tic­i­pa­tion in the elec­tion, mak­ing the com­pe­ti­tion more par­lia­men­tary and tight­en­ing demo­cratic prin­ci­ples—and thereby do­ing our best to safe­guard the psy­cho­log­i­cal sit­u­a­tion of other par­ties and vot­ers in Kur­dis­tan. And judg­ing from the num­ber of vot­ers who played an ac­tive role in the elec­tion, it worked. That's why the cam­paign­ing was calmer in KDP strongholds, son. And it isn’t out of the ques­tion that this may have af­fected the vot­ing rate in some very lim­ited way, as is the case in all elec­tions around the world. But the re­sults were valid and the par­ties ap­proved them--ex­cept those par­ties that want to use the is­sue to pur­sue their po­lit­i­cal aims.

The Iraqi High Elec­toral Com­mis­sion re­ferred to the suc­cess of the process and its re­sults. Re­gard­ing the opin­ion and stance of other par­ties, Mah­mood Mham­mad had this to say:

“The par­ties who haven't won the votes they ex­pected in­tend to make ex­cuses to their pub­lic and their mem­bers. That is why they are try­ing to raise doubt over the process and the re­sults, and de­fam­ing as­pects of the process. Their ac­tions are driven by a fail­ure to un­der­stand the power and pub­lic sup­port they had ran­domly claimed for them­selves and their own par­ties. In short, the cal­cu­la­tions they made dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign were wrong, and they don’t want to ac­cept this.

Turn­ing now to de­mands for votes to be re­counted, Mah­mud Mham­mad says:

We be­lieve in the IEHC de­ci­sion in the mat­ter of tar­get­ing the bal­lot boxes and the rea­sons be­hind it. When they said some boxes in Sle­many were taped with red rib­bon, there may have been red and pur­ple rib­bons in Duhok and Er­bil as well. We should not for­get that the re­sults and the de­ci­sions are de­ter­mined ac­cord­ing to their laws and reg­u­la­tions; they are spe­cial­ists in spec­i­fy­ing the is­sues and in ap­prov­ing or dis­ap­prov­ing the re­sults. That's why we re­spond to the rul­ings of the IEHC and the Kur­dis­tan Supreme Court, and not to po­lit­i­cal tantrums.

Re­gard­ing the re­sults, the head of the KDP's Cul­ture and Me­dia Of­fice told the Kur­dish Globe: “Ahead of the vot­ing process, dur­ing prepa­ra­tions for the elec­tion, some par­ties de­cided to abuse the process and took aim at peo­ples' trust in the KDP and the seats that party has won. Some par­ties sought to de­value the elec­tion and its re­sults. We ac­cepted the re­sults, but this is not the real size and of the Kur­dis­tan Demo­cratic Party. We be­lieve the KDP has more sup­port­ers, but that it may not have been pos­si­ble for ev­ery­one to par­tic­i­pate in the process on one day. The op­po­si­tion par­ties made their ap­peal to the Supreme Court, and the ap­peals were re­jected: the re­sults re­main un­changed. As we are wait­ing for the court to solve the is­sue, si­mul­ta­ne­ously we re­spect the court's de­ci­sion. And don’t for­get that we have also made ap­peals in some lo­ca­tions, al­though we didn't make the ap­peals part of our elec­tion cam­paign, and we didn’t use them to de­fame any party’s re­sults. Do you know why? Be­cause af­ter we all agreed on this im­por­tant process, which pro­ceeded in ac­cor­dance with elec­toral law, as the KDP are not ready to go back on our agree­ment for the sake of party pol­i­tics.

We saw that the Op­po­si­tion (Gor­ran, Is­lamic Union and Is­lamic Group), in­stead of ac­cept­ing the votes they got, have claimed their votes were fal­si­fied. This was in con­trast with the KDP’s strate­gic ally, the PUK, which only won 18 seats. Their votes fell, their re­sults were a blow, but they still ac­cepted them. Yet or­ga­nized at­tack have be­gun to tar­get the KDP and to put pres­sure on the IHEC. Mah­mud Mhamad re­lates the mat­ter to the prom­ises some par­ties gave to their fans. As he told the Globe: “Ac­tu­ally the par­ties that made a lot of big prom­ises to the peo­ple couldn’t de­liver on them. The votes they got do not fit with what they claimed and wanted to win. They had told their peo­ple they would fin­ish up in power, but this was im­pos­si­ble.

He went on to an­a­lyze the sit­u­a­tion by say­ing “The peo­ple of Kur­dis­tan did not trust them. They started ac­cus­ing other par­ties of con­vinc­ing their peo­ple, be­cause they couldn't win the trust of peo­ple. The KDP came first in the elec­tion by a con­sid­er­able mar­gin.

Af­ter the re­sults of the elec­tion were an­nounced, the Kur­dish cap­i­tal Er­bil was attacked by a ter­ror­ist group. Some think this was re­lated to the KDP vic­tory in the elec­tion and to the calm­ness of the vot­ing process and the good turn-out. This KDP of­fi­cial says: “Any in­ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion against the

Mah­mood Muhammed, mem­ber of Kur­dis­tan Demo­cratic Party's polit­buro:

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