Politics & Economics

Elections in Iraqi Kurdistan Region “Peaceful and Orderly”

Iraq

The Shams Network for Election Observation released its assessment of the Kurdistan Region’s parliamentary election held on 30th September, calling it “peaceful” with some noted cases of fraud.

On Monday, the Shams Network for Election Observation released its assessment of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s parliamentary election held on 30th September, calling it generally “peaceful”.

With ISIS defeated thanks in part to local forces including the Kurdish Peshmerga, Iraqis across the country are taking the opportunity to rebuild their country. This includes reinforcing strongly embedded democratic values in both local and national politics. ISIS had previously tried to destroy Iraq’s democratic institutions, but the continued success of elections at all levels is a resounding sign that Iraq’s democratic values live on.

While the monitor’s chief Hogir Chato noted that the incidents “weren’t major”, harassment and assault was reported in some polling stations. Meanwhile, the Kurdish Independent High Electoral and Referendum Commission (IHERC) noted that they will be investigating as many as 425 complaints and violations that were filed to the commission.

Preliminary results suggest that the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) received around 45% of the vote, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) about 21.2%, Gorran with 11.8% and New Generation 8.4%. The KDP had the most seats in the previous Parliament, but the PUK has overtaken Gorran for second place. The New Generation Movement had not stood in previous elections.

In the elections, voters chose from more than 700 candidates vying for 111 seats in the autonomous Kurdistan’s Parliament. To ensure representation across ethnic groups, a number of seats are held in reserve – 5 for Turkmen, 5 for Chaldeans and 1 for Armenian Christians.

Maja Kocijancic, the European Union’s spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, hailed the election.

“It is positive that first reports confirm a peaceful and orderly ballot. Vote counting should now be completed speedily and transparently, the results should be accepted by all parties and any claims of irregularities addressed through the available procedures, leading to the swift constitution of a new Parliament and Government,” she said in a statement on Monday.

To ensure fairness and confidence in the results, the electoral commission in the region will postpone a final announcement until it reviews all the complaints of voter fraud.

“We do not want to rush in the announcement before settling all complaints,” stated commission chief Handarin Mohamed in a press conference in the regional capital Erbil.

This is the fourth Kurdish Parliamentary election since the fall of Saddam Hussain, with previous votes in 2005, 2009, and 2013.

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