[ltr]2023.04.13 - 13:12[/ltr]
Baghdad - Nas
Political tensions and controversy over minority seats are the main obstacles to holding long-awaited parliamentary elections in the Kurdistan region.
The region's parliament voted in October to extend his term and reschedule voting amid disagreements between the KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan over constituency boundaries.
A spokesman for the regional presidency, Dilshad Shahab, announced on March 26 that "November 18 has been set as the date for elections" for the 111-seat legislature.
The electoral offices of the two parties held several meetings in the past weeks and reached a great understanding on how to amend the region's election law and re-authorize the region's election commission to conduct elections. However, both parties failed to make any progress on minority constituency boundaries. Thus, they asked the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) to mediate between them to reach a consensus.
A spokesperson for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said via email: "We are in contact with the parties to provide options moving forward based on their request, we presented options last week. It is up to the parties to consider these options."
According to an informed source within one of the ruling Kurdish parties in the Kurdistan Regional Government, one of the proposals of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) is to allocate two out of 11 seats reserved for minorities in the Kurdish parliament. For Sulaymaniyah Governorate - one for Christians and the other for Turkmen.
The KDP is often accused of manipulating the minority quota through carrots and sticks. In all previous elections held in the region, the 11 seats were allocated to the province of Erbil, while there are minorities in the other Kurdish provinces.
The source added, "The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan requested the allocation of four seats for minorities in the regions of Sulaymaniyah and Karmian."
The two sides suspended all discussions on this issue due to recent tensions following the Turkish drone attack on Sulaymaniyah airport last week. The airstrike targeted Mazloum Abdi, a Kurdish commander in the Syrian Democratic Forces, but he survived.
The two parties blamed each other, as each claimed that the other was providing information to Turkey to target Abdi.
A spokesman for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) added: "We would like to reiterate that it is necessary to hold the long-awaited elections, and the United Nations Mission is ready to provide further advice and technical support if requested by the parties."
The Kurdistan Democratic Party controls the regional government in Erbil and has 45 seats in the current council. Together with the 21-seat Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, which has produced all Iraqi presidents since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the two parties dominate politics in the Kurdistan region.
The region's parliament not only votes on legislation in the autonomous region, but also approves appointments to the KRG, including the prime minister.
Parliament has extended its term several times in recent decades due to such disagreements, and in the 1990s due to fighting between two rival clans, the Barzani of the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Talabani of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.
The New Arab newspaper
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