No Progress in Kirkuk Provincial Council Elections Row

September 3, 2018 at 12:10 pm

One of Kirkuk's main streets near Kirkuk Citadel, August 2017

The Iraqi Federal Court’s recent approval of the country’s parliamentary elections final results has sparked concerns in the public opinion of an imminent boycott of the provincial council elections, in fear of “another rigging of election results” according to losers from the May 12, 2018 elections.

Kirkuk, which is a disputed area, has not witnessed provincial elections since 2005 due to the controversy over the need for issuing a special law for the elections in the province.

 

Kirkuk’s Turkmen community claims the results of the elections would be pre-determined.

“The rigging of electronic voting results which happened in the recent election has made voters in Kirkuk consider the electoral process a scenario or a play. Our hopes were hinged upon the manual recount but the results were disappointing for the voters and the parties as well” according to Ahmed Ramzi, head of the electoral district of the Turkman Front.

He added “ the new government  should guarantee that the rigging will not happen in the provincial elections and that they should also restructure the electoral commission in Kirkuk“.

 

Meanwhile, Muhammad Sama’n, director of the Turkman Front organizational centers said “ the manual vote recount for only 199 ballot boxes and the completion of the process in less than 10 days and later the Federal Court’s approval of the results signaled that there were political agendas behind the matter, which eventually sparked fears among the Turkman and Arab components of Kirkuk from the upcoming provincial elections planned for the end of this year”.

Speaking to (Kirkuk Now), Sama’n siad ” the Turkmen will not allow the provincial council elections to be held this way”, emphasizing the need to implement article 23 of the Iraqi constitution which calls for the devision of posts equally among the main components  of Kirkuk.

 

Ramla Hamid, member of the Kirkuk provincial council says that “the Arab community which participated in a big turnout in the previous elections hoping for change is now also looking with fear and suspicion to the voting process”.

Mahmoud Zedan, a spokesman for the Arab Council in Kirkuk expressed resent over the performance of the electoral body in the province saying that “change is needed to assure the integrity of the upcoming provincial elections” warning that the Arab council “will take necessary steps if the electoral body stays without any changes”.

However he reaffirmed that boycotting the provincial elections is not an option, at least until the moment, but the Arab Council is now looking for other solutions that guarantees its rights and ensure clean elections.

 

In the meantime, Jamal Shukur, a winner candidate of the PUK in the May 12 parliamentary elections questioned the reasons behind the Turkman Front’s resentment of the election results wondering why they want to boycott the provincial elections which will be held throughout Iraq including Kirkuk.

Shkur said “ the number of the seats which the PUK won in the latest election were the same as it won in its predecessor therefore it doesn’t make sense that the PUK rigged all those elections”.

He reiterated that the PUK will participate in the upcoming provincial elections noting that they have no objection to the current electoral body in Kirkuk.

 

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