Roj Peshmerga, Yazdanpana’s force to participate in Iraq election – MP

A combined picture of Roj Peshmerga (L) and Hossein Yazdanpana’s Force

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Roj Peshmerga and forces under the command of Hossein Yazdanpana formed by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) will take part in the Iraqi parliamentary elections, a lawmaker said on Thursday.

Iraq is to hold special voting for the security forces, displaced persons and prisoners across the country on Friday, two days ahead of national polls.

Around 1,750,000 members of Iraqi and Kurdish forces, displaced persons and prisoners will vote on Friday during the special voting day.

Abubakir Haladni, member of Peshmerga committee in the Kurdistan Parliament, said both Roj Peshmerga and Yazdanpana’s forces would also take part in the election.

“Civil status identification cards and electoral cards were created for the Roj Peshmerga and Yazdanpana’s forces, and they also receive salaries,” Haladni told Esta Media Network.

The KDP formed two forces from Iranian and Syrian Kurds few years ago. It formed a force for Hossein Yazdanpana with the participation of thousands of Iranian Kurds.

Roj Peshmerga include nearly eight thousand Kurds from Syria.

“The two forces were formed outside the Kurdistan Region’s institutions and laws, and they will also participate in the election,” the lawmaker said.

“The two forces came from Iran and Syria, and they have had certificate of Iranian and Syrian nationalities. Therefore, they must not participate in the election, and that is the opposite of [Iraqi] Constitution and law,” he added.

He further said thousands of people from Syria and Iran hold Iraqi civil identification cards and certificate of nationality.

“It is hard for the electoral commission to find out whether they are foreigners,” he continued.

Iraqi voters are to elect a new parliament next Sunday in the fifth such vote since a U.S.-led invasion toppled dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003.

A total of 329 seats are up for grabs in the election, which was moved forward from 2022 as a concession to youth-led pro-democracy protests that erupted in late 2019.

There are fears voter turnout could drop below the 44.5 percent figure registered in 2018.

More than 25 million citizens are eligible to vote. They are supposed to present a biometric card for what was conceived as a fully electronic voting process.

More than 3,240 candidates are in the running, including 950 women.

One quarter of seats are reserved for female candidates, and nine for minorities including Christians and Yazidis.

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