Kurdistan Region: The Scope of Electoral Reforms and its Implications – Report


Pic – Shwan Mohammed, AFP

By the Kurdish Institute for Elections (KIE):

The scope of electoral reforms and its implications: Kurdistan Region political parties’ share in the upcoming elections (2021)

Aram Jamal, Executive Director of KIE
Dana Jamil, Elections Expert
Review – Dr Harem Karem, Researcher in Democracy

Executive summary

This report examines the Kurdistan Region’s 2018 parliamentary elections results for (KDP, PUK, Gorran, Naway Nwe, Komal, and Yakgrtw) to determine each party’s expected share of seats throughout the twelve new constituencies in the upcoming Iraqi parliamentary elections (2021).


With the new electoral law in Iraq emerged a new reality that requires a fresh perspective to grasp and examine the changing dynamics. The prevailing issue with the electoral system is that Kurdistan Region’s elections results are announced as a single-constituency or at best, at provincial-level constituencies; the new law changes that arrangement through the introduction of twelve new constituencies in the Kurdistan Region. Hence this report focuses on the implications of the electoral reform and what it means for the local parties by taking into account and analyses the Kurdistan Region’s 2018 parliamentary elections results.

The size and boundaries of each of the twelve constituencies consist of two to five districts as defined by the electoral law. This report attempts to determine the difference reflected in each party’s number of seats due to the reduction in constituency sizes, addition to constituency numbers, and the method by which the parties ought to deal with the number of candidates they select, the selection criteria as well as the possibility of independent candidates joining the race, most of which have emerged as a direct result of the electoral reform that shifts from proportional representative system to the majority single-nontransferable vote system.

This report serves as a mirror through which the Kurdistan Region political parties can see their advantages and disadvantages at the constituency level, and guide them to maximise their potentials in the upcoming elections throughout all twelve constituencies.

The fact is, most of the participating political parties in the Kurdistan Region’s 2018 elections have secured those results referred to in this report by employing the 100-candidates lists, but in the upcoming elections, the number of their candidates [1] will decrease to a quarter of that and the Kurdistan Region transforms from a single constituency to twelve constituencies with the possibility of independent candidates participating in the elections, hence the results will inevitably witness a drastic change.

To make sense of the existing numbers, this report first employs the previous results within the smaller constituencies using proportional representative system / electoral quota / largest remainder of vote, then analyse them based on each party’s share of seats in that individual constituency under the new system. The single-nontransferable system has been tested as a probability.

[1] The Kurdistan Parliament is made up of 111 members, 100 of them allocated for the Kurdish parties and 11 for the ethnic and religious minorities (5 Turkmen, 5 Christians and 1 Armenian). During the previous elections, elections law allowed the political parties to have as many candidate as the number of parliamentary seats they were contesting. However, since the new electoral law redefines the constituencies’ boundaries, the political parties will have significantly fewer candidates.

Download the Report:

The scope of electoral reforms and its implications: Kurdistan Region political parties’ share in the upcoming elections (2021) – (pdf)

Kurdish Institute for Elections is a non-governmental, nonprofit organisation established in 2002. Its mission is to help strengthen the democratic condition through raising awareness among the electorates, contributing to the electoral laws and provide training for the elections observers, journalists as well as monitoring the democratic processes in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.
Email – kielections@gmail.com

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