Kurdistan Region president urges parties to ensure civic, peaceful election campaigns

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani on Friday urged all parties to ensure civic and peaceful election campaigns in the Kurdistan Region.

In a statement, Barzani said the campaigns should not exhaust or create chaos in the Kurdistan Region, calling for a free and fair campaign within the framework of law in which all rights of candidates are safeguarded.

“Slander and unfounded smear attacks against candidates, especially against women contenders should strongly be renounced,” Barzani said.

“All parties and political factions need to bear in mind that after the elections, our common objective is to cooperate together in Baghdad to consolidate democracy, to serve the interests of Iraq in general, and to achieve and preserve the constitutional rights of the people of the Kurdistan Region in particular,” he added.

“The election campaigns should in no ways undermine or harm future cooperation, partnership and collective efforts in Baghdad.”

The Region’s president further said the early parliamentary election in Iraq is important for Iraqis and that the international community attaches importance to it.

“I wish all sides a great campaign and free and fair elections which earn the trust of everyone,” he stated.

Iraq is scheduled to hold early elections on October 10, in response to the anti-government protests against corruption and lack of public services.

The previous parliamentary elections in Iraq were held on May 12, 2018, and the next elections were originally scheduled to take place in 2022.

On Monday, member of Iraqi independent high electoral commission Imad Jamil Mohsen said more than 220 EU and U.N. observers would monitor Iraq’s elections.

He further said the Arab League would also send observers from Arab countries to monitor the poll.

In the most recent legislative election in 2018, the turnout was 44.52 percent, an official figure that many believe was inflated.

Calls to boycott the vote have increased as the election draws closer, especially among young people who accuse political parties in Iraq of covering up and even encouraging political violence.

An early general election was one of the promises made by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to try to meet the demands of the demonstrators.

A new electoral law also came into force last year, its aim being to break the monopoly held by blocs of parties that share power, and promote independent candidates instead.

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