The Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq has announced that parliamentary elections will take place on November 18, following a delay due to a disagreement between the two major ruling parties. Kurdish President Nechirvan Barzani issued a decree on Sunday, approving the election date. The vote will elect both a parliament and a president for Kurdish regions, which have had self-rule since 1991. The President has called on the regional authorities and the Independent High Elections Commission to prepare for the elections and has requested that representatives of the United Nations help make the elections a success.
The parliamentary elections in the region were supposed to take place on October 1, 2022, but were postponed by a year due to disagreements between the two dominant political parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, over electoral constituency boundaries. The parliament has 111 seats, with the KDP controlling 45 and the PUK holding 21.
Kurdish officials have portrayed the region as a haven of stability in conflict-ridden Iraq, but activists and opposition figures have criticized corruption, arbitrary arrests, and the intimidation of protesters. Disputes between the KDP and the PUK have centered on the allocation of budgetary funds. Further disagreements at Iraq’s national level have typically 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.
Image Credit: KRG