US Embassy raises concerns over KDP's election boycott in Iraqi Kurdistan

US Embassy raises concerns over KDP's election boycott in Iraqi Kurdistan

Shafaq News/ The US Embassy in Iraq expressed concern regarding the Kurdistan Democratic Party's announcement to boycott the parliamentary elections in the Kurdistan Region.

"We are concerned by KDP's announcement to boycott the Iraqi Kurdistan Region elections. We urge the Government of Iraq & the Kurdistan Regional Government to ensure that elections are free, fair, transparent, & credible." US Ambassador Alina L. Romanowski said on X.

"All the people of Iraqi Kurdistan Region should have a voice in determining their future." She added.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) declared on Monday its decision to boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections in the Kurdistan Region, warning of potential withdrawal from Iraq's political process if the State Administration Coalition (SAC) fails to adhere to agreed-upon terms.

SAC's goals are combating corruption, implementing reforms, rebalancing Iraq's regional relations, revising the electoral commission system, and promoting consensus among Iraqi factions.

The KDP's Political Bureau released a statement, urging the SAC parties to "fulfill their national responsibilities by upholding the constitution and honoring all provisions of the political and administrative agreement governing the current government led by Mohammed Shia al-Sudani." Underscoring that "continuing in the political process under the current conditions would be untenable for the KDP."

In addition, the statement denounced the decisions made by the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court regarding the Kurdistan Region elections.

Last February, Iraq's Supreme Court issued rulings related to the Kurdistan Region's election law.

The court declared that a specific article concerning the minority quota in KRG's provincial election law was deemed "unconstitutional." This article, part of a law initially adopted in 1992 and revised in 2013, mandates 11 quota seats in the Regional parliament for ethnic and religious minorities. In response, the Turkmen (a minority) withdrew from the elections.

Furthermore, the verdict stated that Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission will take over from KRG's electoral commission to supervise parliamentary elections, which are anticipated to occur next June.

The decision also divided Kurdistan into four constituencies, Al-Sulaymaniya, Erbil, Duhok, and Halabja instead of the single-constituency system in previous elections.

"We believe that it is in the interest of our people and our country not to comply with an unconstitutional decision and a system imposed from outside the will of the people of Kurdistan and its constitutional institutions, and not to participate in elections conducted contrary to the law, the constitution, and under the umbrella of an imposed electoral system." KDP statement said.

The statement highlighted that the KDP remains confident in its position as the "leading party" in the Kurdistan Region. However, "the choice not to partake in the elections was made to uphold the rights of the Kurdish people and to support Iraq's democratic and federal system."

Notably, Kurdistan's autonomy is protected by the Iraqi constitution, ratified in 2005, ensuring the political and economic rights of approximately six million residents in the Kurdistan Region. Nonetheless, there is a significant lack of trust between the Kurdistan Region and the central government in Baghdad in recent years, mainly regarding elections, oil exports, and salaries of Kurdish employees.

One of the main issues that could empower the federal government is the political division in Kurdistan.

KDP is predominantly governed by the Region, yet the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) wields considerable influence in the region's political and military realms.

Although the KDP and PUK are partners in SAC, their relationship has been strained for years, primarily concerning power and revenue distribution issues.

The recent court ruling in Iraq stemmed from legal actions by Kurdish political factions opposed to the KDP's dominance in politics within the Kurdistan Region.

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