Saturday, 02 May 2009, 08:33 GMT
Election campaigns begin in earnest in Kurdistan

Members of the Higher Independent Electoral Commission office in Erbil speak to reporters in Erbil, April 27, 2009. GLOBE PHOTO/Safin Hamed

The Kurdish Globe

With registration of political entities almost complete, Kurds eagerly await announcement of Election Day

The High Electoral Commission office in Kurdistan Region announced on Tuesday the names of 42 political lists registered to take part in the Kurdistan parliamentary elections expected in early July.

"The process of registering political entities that will take part in the Kurdistan parliamentary election has ended and 42 lists have offered their participation in the elections," announced Ali Qadir, chief of the commission in Kurdistan Region during a press conference held in Erbil. He explained that 38 lists were completely registered while four of them needed to complete their registration procedures in the next few days.

The electoral campaign started with the announcement of the lists, said Qadir and added that the formation of alliances among the entities started immediately afterwards, with the registration of the alliances due to commence for a week from May 1st.

Among the registered lists, 22 political entities are competing for parliamentary seats for their first time, while 20 lists preside from the previous election held in late 2005.

"Every list has to consist of no less than three nominees and no more than 100. It also has to contain a 30% share for women," said Qadir.

He then explained about the breakdown of the competition for the parliament's 111 seats. Four lists will compete for one seat dedicated to the Armenians, as stipulated in the Kurdistan Region election law. Christian Chaldio-Assyrian-Syrian political blocs will fight it out for another five of the seats. With another five of the total 11 dedicated seats competed by three Turkmen lists.

The Kurdish parties in 31 political entities will fight it out to win the remaining 100 seats in parliament.

According to the commission, Kurdistan Region population has reached 4,382,291 people with approximately 2,518,229 of them having the right to vote.

The voters are distributed amongst 84 registration centers and 5,403 voting stations across the three provinces that comprise the region. The largest number of available votes is located in Suleimaniya province with 1,058,189, in Erbil 898,735 people can vote and finally in Duhok, 561,849 people can cast their votes.

The Election Day is not appointed yet but the electoral commission in the region expects the election to be held between July 1st and 15th. Meanwhile, the Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani announced on Monday that he will declare the exact date of the upcoming elections "in the coming few days."

On aspects of security, the Minister of Peshmarga Affairs, Shekh Jafer Mustafa, played down rumors of American troops been relocated to the region to guard the elections.

"The Kurdistan Region security situation is in a very good condition and the Peshmarga, police and Asaish (security) forces are competent enough to protect the cities," said the minister on Monday.