Kurdish parties aspire to join Nineveh Unified Bloc following provincial council elections

Leaders and representatives of the parties participating in the Nineveh Unified Bloc, Mosul, 2024. Facebook account of Najim Al-Jubouri, former governor of Nineveh

By Ammar Aziz in Ninewa

The Kurdish parties in Nineveh intend to participate in the Unified Nineveh Bloc, which includes most Arab parties and alliances, and seeks to form a local government with 19 seats and representing almost 70% of the governorate's voters.

Six parties and alliances headed by Muhannad Najim al-Jubouri, who received the largest number of votes in the Nineveh Provincial Council elections (57,448 votes) and head of the Nineveh List for its People, announced on Thursday, January 25, 2024, the formation of the Nineveh Unified Bloc.

In addition to the Nineveh People's List (five seats), the new bloc includes the National Resolution and Sovereignty and Progress Alliance, each of which won two seats, along with the Resolve Alliance and the Renewal Party, which won one seat each.

All of these parties are Sunni Arabs and are headed by politicians such as Osama al-Nujaifi, Iraqi Defense Minister Thabet al-Abbasi, Khamis al-Khanjar, and former Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament Muhammad al-Halbousi.

Muhannad al-Jubouri, son of former Nineveh governor Najim al-Jubouri and head of the Nineveh Unified Bloc, said, “We formed this bloc to form a new administration and the door is open for other parties to participate.”

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Voting in the Provincial Council elections in one of the polling stations in the city of Mosul, Nineveh, 2023. Ahmed Bulla

(KirkukNow) contacted several members and officials of the parties participating in the bloc, but they refused to make statements saying they agreed on the common position that they published at the conference in which they announced the formation of the bloc.

The Nineveh Unified Bloc has half the votes of the governorate’s voters (449,980 votes out of a total of 909,269 votes) and 13 seats, but it still needs two more seats to be able to form the local government, as the election law requires ensuring a majority (50 + 1), meaning at least 15 seats out of the 29 seats in the Nineveh Provincial Council to elect the governor and the head of the council.

Manaf Hassan, head of the elections department in the Nineveh branch of the Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP, told KirkukNow, “We certainly prefer an agreement with this bloc so that the new administration is formed within a short period.”

He explained that the bloc that was formed needs two more seats and they are seeking to agree with KDP.

The KDP won four seats and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan won two seats in Nineveh. If they join the Nineveh Unified Bloc, its total number of seats will be 19 seats, thus representing about 66% of the governorate’s voters.

In the previous Nineveh Provincial Council elections, the KDP won nine seats in addition to two quota seats, thus obtaining the position of Head of the Provincial Council and Deputy Governor and becoming the main component of the local government in Nineveh.

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One of the centers for counting the votes of displaced voters in the Nineveh Governorate Council elections, Dohuk, 2023. Ammar Aziz

Abdullah Goran, head of the elections department at the Nineveh Organization Center of the PUK, told (Kirkuk Now), “We prefer to participate in this bloc with the Kurdistan Democratic Party,” and indicated that they do not intend to become opposition in the Nineveh Provincial Council and that they will discuss with the Kurdistan Democratic Party the issue of negotiations to form the local government with its six seats.

“We are with the party that does not violate the rights of the Kurds,” according to Goran.

According to the election law, the Council holds its first session within (15) days from the date of approval of the election results (the election results were approved on January 21) and the Council must elect the governor and his two deputies within 30 days.

Najim al-Jubouri, head of the Nineveh Party for its People, stressed in a statement that the door to the unified Nineveh bloc is open to all parties to form a strong government together.

Lists and alliances of Shiite parties, such as the National Contract, the Hadbaa Alliance, and the National Identity, have six seats representing the votes of more than 200,000 voters.

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