Saturday, 23 May 2009, 08:10 GMT
Election campaigns start in Kurdistan

Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani will run for president in the upcoming July elections.

The Kurdish Globe

Electoral Commission emphasizes the enforcement of integrity and respect in upcoming elections

The Electoral Commission in the Kurdistan Region announced that the electoral campaigns for the Kurdistan Region parliamentary elections will commence from Saturday May 23rd, running for a period of two months. The commission also warned that financial fines will be instigated against any political entity that causes defamation of other candidates.

"All the participating entities have to commit to the regulations of the High Electoral Commission in Iraq which concerns the organization of propaganda campaigns for elections," stated Handren Muhammad, head of the Erbil office of the commission.

He assured that financial fines will be imposed on any political entity that generates insult and defamation during their respective campaign.

The 2008 principle guidelines of the commission also prevents parties of practicing violence, using governmental places, properties and posts, publishing ideas that cause ethnical and religious tensions, as well as using bribes and financial donations to entice votes.

"A total of 509 candidates will run for elections," Hamdiya al-Husseini, a member of the IHEC said Thursday.

"Five poll stations will be opened in Baghdad and its districts to vote on the elections and 84 stations in Arbil, Sulaimaniya and Duhuk," she also said.

For the July 25th parliamentary elections in the Kurdistan Region, 25 lists will compete for 111 seats of the regional parliament. Five of these lists are composed of alliances, of which the most noticeable is the Kurdistan List which includes the two main Kurdish parties, Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) led by Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) led by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. Another significant list, the Services and Reformation List, brings together the Kurdistan Islamic Union, Islamic Group in Kurdistan, Kurdistan Socialist Party and the Kurdistan Tailors Party in unison.

On the aspects of security, the Electoral Commission announcement on Tuesday that coordination was agreed with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Ministry of Interior to ensure the an appropriate secure environment was afforded for the elections. This came during a meeting between KRG Minister Karim Sinjari and Hamdia al-Husseini, representing the Electoral Commission.