Kurdistan sees two elections on April 30
Campaigning has begun for both Iraq’s parliamentary and for the Kurdistan Region’s Provincial elections which scheduled for April 30th
Campaigning officially kicked off on April 1 for Iraq's first parliamentary elections since the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country more than two years ago. The elections will decide the 328 members of the Council of Representatives who will in turn elect the Iraqi President and Prime Minister.
The electoral system is based on the open list system of proportional representation using the governorates as the constituencies. The counting system has been changed slightly from the largest remainder method method to the modified due to a ruling by the Supreme Court that the previous method discriminated against smaller parties. Seven "compensatory" seats that were awarded at the national level to those parties whose national share of the vote wasn't reflected in the seats won at the governorate level have been allocated to individual governorates. Eight seats remain reserved for minority groups at the national level.
The competition is expected to be within the three main sectarian communities: Shi'ite Arabs, Sunni Arabs and Kurds. Shi'ite Arabs will be split between the Prime Minister's State of Law, Sadrist Movement and Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. The former secular/sunni Iraqiya coalition will be split between the parliamentary speaker's Mutahidoun party, Allawi's Iraqi National Accord and al-Mutlak's Iraqi National Dialogue Front.
Kurdish leaders pay great attention to Iraq’s parliamentary elections, and how they fare matters. The Iraqi parliament is a place where they can fight their political battles with the federal government, form alliances and vet any legislature that might harm their regional government.
Meanwhile, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) predicts it will be the biggest winner among all Kurdish parties on the national level. Its election commission expects the KDP to win 1.2 million votes across Iraq.
The election campaigns started when the issues between Kurdistan Region and Baghdad stil remained outstanding. A day after campaigning kicked off for the polls, President of Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani in a speech to members of his Kurdistan Democrat- ic Party (KDP) talked about the recent disputes with the federal government. Barzani said the Kurds will do their best to solve the disputes with Baghdad, but on condition that the Iraqi side respects the partnership.
Barzani chastised Baghdad for blocking Kurdistan’s share of the budget in February, saying: “If someone thinks he can bring us to our knees by using the budget card, then he is dumb and has no idea who the Kurds are and what they are about.”
Barzani said that disagreements with the central government could be easily solved if they were only about oil and gas or a particular constitutional clause. But, he said, the real issue is that the Iraqi side does not believe in partnership.
“If our counterparts persist in their policies, then we too will pursue our own policy,” he warned. “They should find out what it is.”
Candidates bidding for seats at provincial councils in the Kurdistan region also launched their campaigns for elections, which will be held in conjunction with general parliamentary balloting.
Campaigns are scheduled to end hours before the date specified for military balloting, on April 28th. The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) ratified the lists of 713 candidates competing for the Kurdistan region's provincial councils.