Provincial elections across Iraq, except the Kurdistan Region have been scheduled for April 1st, 2020.
The process would be also held in the disputed province of Kirkuk after a cleaning up of the voter register is carried out according to certain procedures.
The Iraqi parliament on Monday July 22 approved the first amendment to the Provincial Election Law by a majority of the 217 members present.
According to the amendment, elections would be held in all Iraqi provinces including disputed Kirkuk, and excluding the Kurdistan Region provinces.
The amendment was approved following a series of sessions and extensive deliberations, particularly between representatives of the diverse components of Kirkuk.
A source from the parliament told KirkukNow that there has been “deep controversy over how elections would be held in Kirkuk.”
Arab and Turkmen representatives were insisting that voter rolls should be cleaned up prior to the elections and that the electoral body in the province restructured. They also demanded that Kurdish families who returned to Kirkuk following the fall of the former Ba’ath regime in 2003 should not be allowed to vote.
The disputes delayed the session until 10 p.m. particularly after members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) faction boycotted the session.
“Sadly, as Kurds we failed again to be united in regard to the future of Kirkuk,” Dana Jaza, an MP from the KDP faction wrote on his Facebook account.
He stressed that their faction was supporting most of the articles of the law except for one article concerning Kirkuk.
The last provincial elections were held in Iraq, except Kirkuk, in 2013. The multi-ethnic groups of Kirkuk have been in disarray over the need to clean up electoral registers and normalizing the situation there prior to the elections.
Article 35 of the provincial elections law refers to the way the province is administered after the elections, allowing the elected provincial council to set a mechanism for the distribution of top administrative posts in the province.
According to one of the articles of the amended law, the number of council seats allocated for each province has been reduced.
The Kirkuk provincial council seats have been reduced from 41 to 14, which include a quota seat for the Christians and 3 others reserved for women; meanwhile Ninewa’s provincial council seats have been reduced from 39 to 27, including 3 quota seats for each of the Ezidis, the Christians and the Shabaks along with 6 seats for women.
In Diyala and Salahaddin, the number of council seats allocated for each province is 13, down from the previous 29 seats.
Although it has been proposed that a quota seat would be allocated for the Kakayi community, mostly settled in Kirkuk, yet the proposal was rejected.
The Kakayis have no quota seats in Iraq or the Kurdistan Region, but is expected that they would be given a seat in the Halabja provincial council which is yet to be elected.