Kurdistan Region should be included in Iraqi provincial elections: New Generation

Polls overdue

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SULAIMANI – The New Generation Movement has called for provincial council elections occurring in southern and central Iraq in April to include the Kurdistan Region as well.

“The proper opportunity for elections to be held in the Kurdistan Region's governorates and for local governments to be renewed is at the same time as the provincial council elections in Iraq,” the Movement said in a press release on Tuesday (September 17).

It argued that doing so would improve public services and put “an end to the illegitimate tenures of the current councils and governors.”

“With the worsening of the security situation in 2005, and since then, [provincial] elections have been held every four years and on time in all the governorates in Iraq except in the Kurdistan Region,” the release continued.

During that period, provincial elections have been held in the Region twice, in 2005 and 2014.

However, provinces in southern and central Iraq have also had problems holding elections on time. Kirkuk governorate has not held provincial elections since 2005 and, more generally, this round of elections was delayed twice because of security and readiness concerns.

“The [Patriotic Union of Kurdistan] and the [Kurdistan Democratic Party] have delayed the elections to an unknown time because of their fear of the election and the people and have amended the council election law in their favor to be able to appoint partisan individuals.”

Earlier this year, the Kurdistan Parliament passed an amendment to allow people not serving on provincial councils to be appointed governor. Making use of that change, former Kurdistan Democratic Party lawmaker Firsat Sofi took over on Monday as Erbil governor from Nawzad Hadi, who had served in that role for the last fifteen years.

“With the election of the provincial councils in Iraq, we are calling for the same election to be held in the Kurdistan Region and for the Independent High Electoral Commission to be permitted to supervise the election. That way, the cost of the election would be borne by the Iraqi Government and would leave no opportunity for the Kurdistan Regional Government to play with the people's votes, future, and will with excuses about a financial crisis and not having a sufficient budget,” the statement said.

New Generation added that it believed that the inclusion of the Kurdistan Region’s governorates in the April election would resolve the stalled Halabja provincial council formation process.

“The great people of Halabja would not have to wait for the [resolution of] disagreements between the PUK and KDP in order for their local administration start working to rebuild the governorate, thus comforting the souls of the martyrs.”

The Movement rebuffed a proposal from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan on Sunday to join an electoral list of Kurdish parties running in Kirkuk, which will be holding an election.

(NRT Digital Media)