Iraq's Kurdistan region announces November elections

President Nechirvan Barzani issues decree to approve date

Nechirvan Barzani, President of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region. AFP
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Iraq’s Kurdistan region has set November 18 as the date for parliamentary elections following a delay after a dispute between the two major ruling parties.

Kurdish President Nechirvan Barzani issued a decree on Sunday and approved the date, Kurdistan Regional Government spokesman Dilshad Shahab said.

The vote should elect both a parliament and a president for Kurdish regions, which gained self-rule in 1991.

Mr Shahab said the President has called on the regional authorities and the Independent High Elections Commission to prepare for the elections.

“We call on the representatives of the UN to help us make the elections a success,” he said.

The elections was postponed by a year following long disagreements between the two dominant political parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

They have had differences over electoral constituency boundaries.

The parliament has 111 seats, in which the KDP — which controls the capital Erbil- has 45, while the PUK has 21.

“No party opposes this date,” Mr Shabab said.

The last parliamentary elections in Iraq's Kurdish region were held on September 30, 2018.

The regional parliament not only votes on legislation in the autonomous territory but also approves Kurdistan government appointments including the prime minister.

Kurdish officials have painted the region, which has its own security forces, the peshmerga, as a haven of stability in conflict-ridden Iraq.

But activists and opposition figures have decried corruption, arbitrary arrests and the intimidation of protesters.

Disputes between the KDP and the PUK have been centred on the allocation of budgetary funds.

Further disagreements at Iraq's national level have usually been between Erbil and the central government in Baghdad over federal budget allocations to Kurdistan, as well as the management of oil exports from the resource-rich region.

Updated: March 27, 2023, 8:25 AM