Iraq News - Local News - Baghdadpost

Kurdish candidates kick off campaigns for parliament elections race

A candidtae puts her campaign poster at the wall in Sulaymaniyah
Kurdish candidates are gearing up for parliamentary elections by the end of this month, since their campaigns kicked off on Tuesday, where Kurds hope it will help them re-settle their situation after a failed bid to break away from the rest of the country.

The two main parties dominate Kurdish politics held rallies all over their respective strongholds in an attempt to whip up support for the September 30 vote.

Masoud Barzani, who last year stepped down from the region’s presidency but stayed leader of Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), addressed a crowd in Erbil, the region’s capital. Meanwhile, leaders of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) gathered in Sulaymaniyah province.

Kurdish citizens will go to the polls to elect members of parliament for their region, which gained self-rule in 1991. Hundreds of candidates are racing for seats in the 111-seat house. The current parliament was elected in 2013.

The campaigning date had been delayed for a week, due to stalled negotiations in Baghdad.

An inconclusive federal election was held in May, and no government has yet been formed. Kurds have traditionally fielded a candidate for the federal presidency.

Kurds voted overwhelmingly for independence in the 2017 referendum, which was opposed by Baghdad and Iraq’s neighboring countries, Turkey, Iran and Western powers.

The vote triggered military and economic retaliation from Iraq’s central government in Baghdad, which took punitive measures to stamp out the region’s independence aspirations, plunging the region into further economic and political turmoil.

Relations between Kurdish regional and central Iraqi authorities have since improved, but negotiations have stalled over oil wells and revenue-sharing.

Opposition parties have expressed concern for months that turnout would be affected by fallout from May’s national election which was marred by allegations of fraud in Kurdish areas. At least one opposition party was boycotting the election.