Kurdistan Region provincial elections delayed – why?

By Harem Karem:

Faraj al Haidari

IHEC chief Faraj al Haidari

Election authorities in the Kurdistan Region have indefinitely postponed provincial polls scheduled for 27 September. The reason given is current laws restricting minority voting rights. However, as is so often the case, there is more to this than meets the eye.

Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) has raised the fact that Kurdish regional laws only allow Christian voters to vote for candidates from their religious community, thereby restricting their human rights and falling short of international election standards.

“They (the Kurdish government) postponed the elections indefinitely and, after reaching an agreement over the law of provincial councils, they will announce a new date,” IHEC chief Faraj al-Haidari said at a news conference.

It is, of course, right that Kurdistan’s election laws should be amended and reflect a modern, inclusive society.

However, this is not a new issue and Kurdistan has had no provincial elections since 2005. Some observers think that the need to change the law is not the real reason for this announcement. There are grounds instead to believe that this is a convenient excuse for politicians who are in the middle of complex manoeuvres and don’t want to be bothered by the voters just yet.

The ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) are in a supposed 50/50 coalition government (arranged marriage) where the KDP now enjoys the lion’s share of power and wealth while the PUK is fast declining.

Recent meetings between the PUK and Gorran (the leading opposition party, formed as a breakaway from the PUK) have brought these parties closer together and even raised the possibility of their contesting the provincial elections as a joint list.

June 1 was the PUK’s 37th anniversary when the Iraq president and PUK secretary general, Jalal Talabani made a celebratory speech in which he praised Gorran’s general coordinator, Newshirwan Mustafa. In fact, he mentioned Newshirwan’s name 29 times – and for the first time in public since the Gorran leader left the PUK in 2009!  At the same time, both Gorran and the PUK have yet to clarify their position in relation to the ongoing dispute between Kurdistan president and KDP leader, Masud Barzani, and Iraq prime minister, Nuri Maliki.

There are signs that Gorran and the PUK – two secular parties with a shared history – may form an electoral pact in which Gorran will take on its erstwhile Islamic party allies (the Islamic Union of Kurdistan and Kurdistan Islamic Group) while the PUK focuses on beating the KDP.

Against this background, it’s not surprising that the KDP, at least, prefers to delay the provincial elections, probably until next June when a general election is due.

Copyright © 2012 Kurdistantribune.com

One Response to Kurdistan Region provincial elections delayed – why?
  1. Dr.N. Hawramany
    June 7, 2012 | 07:56

    In Iraq generally and in Kurdistan province particularly, elections are a mean to an end and that is fastening grip on power and wealth.The real reason for this delay is that the public`s mood in Kurdistan currently is not in favour of the two dominant parties KDP and PUK due partly to the uncesseray tensions with the central government created mainly by uncalculated politics of Mr.Barzani, KDP-leader and current president of province, and public dismay at rampant coruption, nepotism and plundering of Kurdistan`s wealth by the KDP and PUK parties outlined by their so called (strategic) alliance, whch is basicly a 50:50 share of posts and almost every aspect of economical and political life in Kurdistan.
    An election these days or at the originally proposed date of September 2012 will certainly not be in the interests of the dominant parties,particularly KDP which is embroiled in a messy conflict with Iraqi PM Mr.Al-Maliki.
    Let us not forget that Mr. Al-Hayderi, the chief of Iraqi (independent) high commission for elections is a member of KDP, and he is a loyal servant of their orders.

Leave a Reply

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

Trackback URL https://kurdistantribune.com/kurdistan-region-provincial-elections-delayed-why/trackback/