Kurdistan political parties reach new electoral agreement

An Iraqi woman’s finger is seen stained with ink at a polling station during the parliamentary election in Sulaimani, Iraq May 12, 2018. (Reuters photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) —  The Kurdistan Region political parties reached an agreement on Saturday regarding the upcoming Kurdistan parliamentary election.

The political parties including the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Gorran, Kurdistan Islamic Union, and the Kurdistan Justice Group, met in Sulaimani over election talks earlier on Saturday.

A press release released following the meeting stated, “Talks frankly focused on topics relating to amendments to the election law and high electoral commission, and required decisions were made.”

Elaborating on the agreement the press release added that the election will be a multiple-district formula in four constituencies, with the Independent High Electoral Commission registration list to be used.

Moreover, according to the agreement, data from the Iraqi Ministry of Planning shall be used to determine the proportion of seats of the minorities, and Independent High Electoral Commission will be reactivated.

Last week, the two rival Kurdistan Region political parties, agreed to amend four articles of the election law among which the significant ones were the ballot system will be semi-open and the electoral system will be a multiple-district formula.

Parliamentary elections are held every four years in the Kurdistan Region with the last one taking place in September 2018 in which the ballot system was open with a single-district formula.

The PUK and KPD have been at odds chiefly in picking a time to hold the overdue Kurdistan Region parliamentary election also amendments to the electoral law.

The PUK seeks further amendments to the electoral law, particularly to address the “problem” of quota seats of minorities within the Kurdistan legislative chamber.

A minimum quota of 30% of seats in the 111-seat house is reserved for women and 11 seats for parties representing minorities.

According to the PUK, the quota seats of the parliament have been exploited by a certain political party to fulfill its interests.

Last Wednesday, the Deputy Prime Minister, Qubad Talabani stated, “A good understanding has emerged between the political parties, however, the remaining issue is the quota seats.”

“Our vision for the quota seats is clear. We aim the quote seats to be allocated for the real representation of the Kurdistan Region minorities,” he said.

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