Arabs and Turkmen Threaten to Boycott Kirkuk Elections

September 15, 2018 at 4:48 pm

Parliamentary elections campaigns went smoothly in Kirkuk, April 2018 Photo by Karwan Salhi

Ibrahim Ali -Kirkuk

 

The Arabs and Turkmen of Kirkuk still feel disappointed by the results of Iraq’s 12 May, 2018 general elections, and it seems that they don’t want to pass through that experience again; therefore they have put conditions to participate in the upcoming provincial elections, threatening to boycott the elections if they were not fulfilled.

The fear of rigging the election results is emerging at a time the different components of Kirkuk have agreed to put differences aside and hold provincial elections in for the first time since 2005.

 

Ahmd Ramzi, director of the Turkmen Front’s elections’ office, speaking to (Kirkuk Now), said, “What happened in the recent elections in terms of rigging the electronic voting results mad the Kirkuki voter consider the election process as a scenario or a play; therefore the new Iraqi government should guarantee such things would not reoccur and also restructure the electoral body in Kirkuk.

Following the announcement of the 12 May preliminary election result, the Turkmen Front and Arab political parties went on strike for several weeks, but later ended the strike after the Iraqi parliament decided to conduct manual recount of the votes.

 

Muhammad Sama’an director of the Front’s organizational center say, “the manual vote recount and later the Federal Court’s approval of the results has sparked fears among the Turkman and Arab components of Kirkuk from the upcoming provincial elections planned for the end of this year”

He emphasized that they will not allow such elections to be held “unless the Kirkuk Elections Commission is restructured, the integrity of the process is guaranteed and article 23 of the constitution regarding the distribution of administrative posts in Kirkuk province is implemented”.

Although the provincial elections is scheduled for 22 December, 2018, it is not clear if the process will be held in Kirkuk.

 

Ramla Hamid, member of the Kirkuk provincial council said, “the Federal Court’s approval of a rigged election and the manual recount for only a few ballot boxes have made voters, especially the Arab voter, look with fear and suspicion to the voting process”.

She believes that the outcomes of the recent parliamentary elections will affect the voter turnout in the upcoming provincial elections.

 

Mahmoud Zeidan, member of the Arab Political Council in Kirkuktold (Kirkuk Now) that the work of the Kirkuk Elections Commission is now suspended; therefor the Arab Council calls for reassessment of the commission’s performance to ensure integrity for the upcoming elections”.

“Boycotting the provincial elections would be an option for the Arab Council, if its demands were not met”, he said.

 

Meanwhile,  Muhammad Kamal, head of the Fraternal List in the Kirkuk provincial Council said it was possible that the elections would be postponed due to the current political deadlock in Iraq and the delay of the new parliament’s sessions”.

Kamal who is also a Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) member says, “the KDP considers Kirkuk an occupied territory and it will not participate in the elections if the situations stays as it is now”.

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan has a different say in the matter.

Jamal Shukur, an Iraqi MP on the PUK list says, “Elections will be held on time in all Iraqi provinces, including Kirkuk”. He also reaffirmed that the PUK is determined to participate in the provincial elections.

 

Kurdish political parties in their September 11, 2018 meeting in Qarahanjir, Kirkuk, failed to reach an agreement to re-activate the Kirkuk provincial council, which is boycotted by KDP council members.

However they stressed that the Kurds should participate with a united list.

The most recent provincial council elections in Iraq were held in 2013, but ongoing disputes between the different components of Kirkuk over a range of issues including the electoral roll and the normalization of the situation in the province has delayed the elections there since 2005.

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