Shafaq News/ Iraqi Kurdistan's heavy weights, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), on Monday announced that their efforts to pursue the local elections in Diyala with a unified list have faltered amid widening rifts and contrasting viewpoints.
As the Iraqi Election Commission extended the registration period for political alliances and parties to August 20, the stakes rise for a nation waiting to witness its first local Provincial Council elections since April 2013. The previous such election was held back in 2009.
These Provincial Councils, according to the Iraqi constitution enforced since 2005, shoulder the responsibility of selecting the Governor and executive officials of the province. They hold powers pertaining to appointments, dismissals, and the endorsement of project plans based on the financial budget allocated by the central government in Baghdad.
In a statement to Shafaq News, Abbas Mahmoud, a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in Diyala, said, "Due to disagreements with the KDP on coalition mechanisms in Diyala and other disputed regions, our party will contest the elections with an independent list comprising 30 candidates."
Mahmoud added, "We advocated for a unified list of all Kurdish parties in all disputed regions and even engaged the Kurdistan Communist Party to negotiate with all Kurdish forces. However, the KDP only agreed to a unified list in Diyala as a condition for the alliance."
Expressing his skepticism, Mahmoud doubted the prospects of the Kurds contesting local elections in Diyala under a unified banner, especially with the approaching deadline set by the Election Commission.
"Negotiations are ongoing, but consensus remains elusive," he commented.
On the other hand, Shirko Tawfiq, the Head of Organizational Affairs for the KDP in Diyala, attributed the reluctance to form a united front across all disputed regions to the "unique nature of Diyala in comparison to other contested areas."
He emphasized, "We are responsible for our regions in Diyala, with its inherent structure and composition, and it's impractical to extend the coalition to all other disputed areas."
Tawfiq confirmed the KDP's intention to contest the local elections in Diyala with a list that includes more than 20 candidates, representing a diverse range of ethnicities and political affiliations.