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Kurdistan Parliamentary Election Faces Delay Amid Preparation Hurdles

Gulan Media June 24, 2024 News
Kurdistan Parliamentary Election Faces Delay Amid Preparation Hurdles

Iraq's electoral commission announced on Monday that it will be “difficult” to hold the Kurdistan Region’s parliamentary election on the proposed date of September 5, due to delays in the formal issuance of an election decree by the Kurdistan Region Presidency.

Jumana al-Ghalai, spokesperson for the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), told Rudaw, “It is difficult to hold elections on September 5 and we cannot hold the elections on that date. That date was set a month ago and the commission determines its work on the basis of the official date of the elections.”

The Kurdistan Region's elections, which have faced repeated delays, were initially suggested by IHEC for September 5 after various issues previously prevented the vote. However, the absence of a formal decree from the Kurdistan Region Presidency to confirm this date has severely hampered the commission's ability to finalize necessary preparations.

“We are still waiting for the decree from the Kurdistan Region Presidency,” Ghalai said. “Every day of delay affects the work of the commission and the Kurdistan parliamentary elections.”

Since the recent changes to the voting mechanism, three new political parties and 47 independent candidates have registered for the upcoming elections, according to Ghalai.

A pivotal decision last month by Baghdad allocated five seats for minorities across the Kurdistan Region’s provinces. This move was a critical demand by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) to end their boycott of the vote, following an Iraqi top court ruling that stripped minorities of their quota seats in the legislature. The decision restored these seats, ensuring minority representation in the parliament, which facilitated the KDP's return to the electoral process.

The distribution of the minority seats will see Erbil and Sulaimani provinces each get one seat for Christians and one for Turkmens, while Duhok will receive one seat for Christians. The KDP, which had boycotted the elections scheduled for June 10, informed IHEC earlier this month of its readiness to participate, thereby removing a major obstacle to holding the elections after numerous delays.

Initially set for two years ago, the Kurdistan Region elections have been postponed multiple times. The most recent scheduled date was June 10, but IHEC announced it was unable to oversee the process on that date, suggesting September 5 instead. As of now, a new date for the elections has yet to be determined.

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