Kurdish leaders welcome Iraqi Judiciary's decision to grant minority groups seats in Kurdistan parliament

Kurdish leaders welcome Iraqi Judiciary's decision to grant minority groups seats in Kurdistan parliament

Shafaq News/ Iraqi judiciary has granted five seats to minority groups in the Kurdistan Parliament, a move hailed by minority party leaders as a step towards greater representation and fairer elections.

The decision, which comes ahead of the upcoming Kurdistan parliamentary elections, allocates two seats each to the Erbil and Sulaimaniyah governorates, and one seat to Dohuk. These seats will be reserved for Turkmen, Christian, and Armenian candidates, respectively.

The move has been welcomed by minority groups in the Kurdistan Region, who have long advocated for restoring representation in the parliament. Muna Kahwachi, deputy leader of the Turkmen Reform Party, said in a press conference that the decision was "a good step towards resuming the political process in Iraq, especially for the next round of Kurdistan parliamentary elections."

Kahwachi also called for a review of the allocation of seats, noting that 95% of Turkmen in Kurdistan reside in Erbil, "yet only one seat has been allocated to them". She stressed the need for "a single electoral district for Turkmen" to ensure fair representation.

Last week, Iraq's top court mandated a temporary halt to preparations for the Kurdistan Region's parliamentary elections, initially set for 10 June, following a lawsuit from KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani contesting seat distribution.

The lawsuit challenges the distribution of parliamentary seats among constituencies, alleging that the current allocation method is unconstitutional.

The Federal Supreme Court's decision suspended Article 2 of the candidate registration system. This article outlines the allocation of 100 parliamentary seats, with specific distributions among al-Sulaimaniyah, Erbil, Duhok, and Halabja.

However, the court rejected the appeal earlier citing an earlier judicial decision that ordered the electoral body to allocate minority quota seats in the Region's legislature.

Tuesday's decision by the elections branch of Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council stated that the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) is required to allocate five seats to the minorities in the Kurdistan Region's parliament, one seat in Duhok, two seats in Erbil, and two seats in al-Sulaymaniyah.

The decision came in response to a complaint filed by Yousif Yacoub Matti, head of the Bethnahrain Patriotic Union, a Christian party that along with other minority parties said they would boycott the upcoming Kurdistan parliamentary elections.

In February, the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court ruled that the 11 quota seats in the Kurdistan Region’s parliament reserved for ethnic and religious minorities were unconstitutional, effectively eliminating the seats.

The ruling was strongly rejected by the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the party announced that it would not be partaking in the upcoming elections in protest. Most Christian and Turkmen political parties joined the KDP in boycotting the elections, demanding the restoration of the quota seats.

The Kurdistan Region is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections on June 10, after nearly two years of delays.

Despite the top court ruling, it remains unknown where the vote will be held on its scheduled date.

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