Kurdish Islamic parties: Coalition list or independent lists?

Momen Zellmi

By Momen Zellmi:

In July, the Kurdistan region is due to start campaigns for the presidential and parliamentary elections, due to be held on 21st September. The Independent Higher Commission for Elections in Iraq announced this on 23rd May and the recording of the names on the lists will continue until 4th July.

There are three main Islamic parties in the Kurdistan region: the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU), Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG) and Kurdistan Islamic Movement (IMK); according their media they are preparing to have an Islamic Coalition List for the elections.

The KIU, which is in principle independent, has close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Established in February 1994, it was led by Salahdin Muhammed Bahadin until 2012 when, at his sixth conference,  he resigned his post and the conference elected Muhammmed Faraj as the new Secretary General. The KIU has six seats in the Kurdistan parliament and four seats in the Iraqi parliament and, with the KIG and the Change Movement (Gorran), it is part of the Kurdistan Opposition. In the past the KIU didn’t accept coalitions with other Islamic parties because of their backgrounds which had Peshmarga and military links but, since the Arab Spring, the KIU is now somehow ready for an Islamic List.

The KIG is an Islamist movement in Iraqi Kurdistan. It practices the method of   “Sunnah and Jamaa’h” and was established by Ali Bapir in May 2001. In the Iraqi Kurdistan parliament elections in 2009 it joined the coalition with three opposition parties which was called the Service and Reform List. The list came third and the KIG won four seats in the Kurdistan Parliament. In the Iraqi legislative elections in 2010 it formed its own independent list and won 152,530 votes (1.32%) and two seats. Ali Bapir has said in interviews that: “We are always ready for an Islamic list in the Kurdistan election.”

The third Islamic party, which has two seats in the Kurdistan parliament, is the IMK, which is led by Shekh Erfan, son of former leader Mulla Ali Abdulaziz ,who was previously a part of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). They have announced that they always are ready for an Islamic list.

The attempts to create an Islamic list have started and, as yet, there is no clear result. Both politburos of the KIU and KIG have announced that they are still waiting for the results of polling of their members.

Bas weekly newspaper published news about a failure of these attempts. But KIG politburo member Tofeq Kareem dismissed this and said that attempts to form an Islamic list to contest the parliamentary elections continue.

Some Islamic scholars and political observers believe that an Islamic list isn’t in the interest of Islamic parties, because it could cause a divide in Kurdistan society.

Salahadin Muhammed Bahdin the ex-secretary of KIU in his last interviews with Lvin magazine said that, “At this time I don’t support an Islamic list and division of Kurdistan society into Islamic and secular, this is wrong and it isn’t in the interest of Islamic parties”.

“Division of Kurdistan society into Islamic and secular is in the interest of the authority (PDK and PUK), now in Kurdistan we have service and reform problems not ideological problems”, he added.

But members of the politburos of the KIG and IMK believe that forming an Islamic list is an Islamic duty. Abdulstar Majeed, member of KIG politburo, told Awene: “We should follow any step which spreads brotherhood and cooperation. So an Islamic list in this time even is Islamic duty, also it is required by Kurdistan society”.

Erfan Ahmed Kaka, central leadership member of IMK, has said: “If we look to countries around us, especially Egypt, we can see Islamic work objectively, and so uniting Islamic parties and formatting an Islamic list is an Islamic duty and, if anyone is disobedient to it, they will be a sinner from God”.

Mohammed Hakim, spokesman of the KIG, believes that an Islamic list will be a surprise factor in the elections.

“Islamic List now is a project, while in the past it was only a suggestion. Islamic parties couldn’t reach a high level in the political arena in Kurdistan because of the authority system and some subjective internal problems. But I believe that, for the next elections, an Islamic list will be the surprise for all, but we should work hard”.

One more important point relates to candidates for the Kurdistan Presidency, which is still in negotiation. Both KIG and KIU have shown that their attitude on this subject is with the Gorran movement and, in any changed situation, they will announce their position.

There are some questions. If an Islamic list is nominated, will the political system in Kurdistan change?  What will be the results for this list after the election? And how about the risk that Salahadin Bahadeen mentioned?

Momen Zellmi is a Kurdish journalist (born in ‌Hawraman, South Kurdistan in 1985), who is currently studying  M.A . English Literature  in India. He has been writing for leading Kurdish media outlets since 2001. Currently he is Editor in Chief of KomalNews Agency which is publishing from South of Kurdistan in five languages.


Copyright © 2013 Kurdistantribune.com

2 Responses to Kurdish Islamic parties: Coalition list or independent lists?
  1. Kurdo
    June 4, 2013 | 14:35

    As much as I’m against the mixture of religion & the state, it’s in the Islamic parties interest to form a pan-Islamic coalition. They are all individually weak as it is, entering elections as seperate lists only makes them weaker.

  2. kuvan
    June 5, 2013 | 20:12

    Diffrerent interpretation of relgion can itself be a cause for devision in a society that claim they believe in one God ,one prophet and one holy book.It is in the interest of all relgious and none-relgious parties to become one as either a conservetive political party or as a liberal political party which it would turn the nation into two opposite blocs relgious poeple verseus secular under the banner of law and constitution.

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL https://kurdistantribune.com/kurdish-islamic-parties-coalition-list-or-independent-lists/trackback/