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

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

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.

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