Zhino Khalil-Saladden Even though some say that the electoral campaign in Tuz Khurmatu district in Saladden province is freely exercised, IHEC and candidates say that the supporters of Kurdish and Turkmen political parties prevent each other to freely practice the electoral campaigns in some neighborhoods. The electoral campaigns for the coming Iraqi parliament election started on Saturday, April 10th, in the middle and southern provinces of Iraq, but the circumstances are different in Tuz Khurmatu due to the tension and disputes between political parties of the components in the district, and they complain about deterrence while they practice the electoral campaigns. “Due to the reason that the components are distributed over the city unevenly in which the majority of some neighborhoods are Kurds while the others are Turkmen. In Kurdish populated neighborhoods, Turkmen are not allowed to practice electoral campaigns, and in the Turkmen populated neighborhoods, Kurds are not allowed to do so.” Hemin Noory, the candidate of communist party, told KirkukNow.
Each side torn and removed the posters of the lists and candidates of the other side at night.Kurds, Arabs, and Turkmens are the main components of Tuz Khurmatu. The tension between these components reached its peak after October 16th development. Few battles happened between Iraqi security forces and Peshmarga forces which led to the displacement of the majority of Kurdish component in the city. While they are returning to the city, the tension between Kurds and Turkmens in particular is intense, and it has negative effects on the electoral campaign process in the city. “These components are violating the election ethics. We provided three centers to the people to get their electoral voter cards. One in Kurdish populated area, and two more in Turkmen populated areas, but these centers do not give back these cards to other components except themselves, and they also scratch each other’s posters.” One of the administrators of IHEC in Tuz Khurmatu, who did not want to say his name due to security issues, told Kirkuknow.
We are afraid to report names of those who violated the rules of election to Tikrit because we may face violence and assaults from the candidates and lists.The administrator also said that even though it is not legal to hang electoral campaign posters closer than 100 meters to governmental buildings and institutions according to the IHEC rules for the electoral campaigns, yet some candidates and lists have already done it. On the other hand, Sherzad Karim, candidate of National Iraqiyun Gathering, told KirkukNow, “I exercised the electoral campaign freely on April 17th, and no one stopped me to do so.” Colonel Ali Hussein, spokesman of Hashd Al Shaabi forces in Tuz Khurmatu, told KirkukNow, “The electoral campaign is going smoothly, and people including candidates freely practice it because this is all Iraqis right. We do not allow anyone to stop others to exercise this right because it is the right of all the citizens to run an electoral campaign.”