Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kurds boycott Iraqi national elections


Baghdad - The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq threatened on Tuesday to boycott the country's January national elections, protesting the process of the parliamentary seats allocation for the provinces, Iraqi official television reported.

"The Presidency of the KRG decided to boycott the coming parliament elections because of the mechanism adopted in distributing the seats of the parliament on the country's provinces," the official channel of Iraqia said.

The office of the Kurdish president Barzani said the people of Kurdistan “would be forced to boycott” the elections if changes were not made.

Over the past two days, the Kurdistan regional parliament held meeting to discuss the elections law and called on the Iraqi Presidency to veto the draft law.

The Kurds criticized the draft law, which was passed by the Iraqi parliament on Nov. 8, as unjust in distributing the Iraqi parliament seats, since it granted the predominantly Arab province of Nineveh an increase of 15 percent in the number of seats, while the number of seats in Kurdish province of Sulaimaniyah remained without change as if there is no increase in population in Sulaimaniyah during the past four years.

Also the Kurdish Iraqi MP Mahmoud Othman heavily criticized the seat allocation. “I don't see how the election can be credible if current disproportionate seat allocation does not change. Iraq may be better off without it.”

Earlier, the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) said that over 19 million Iraqis would cast their votes in the country's January parliamentary elections.

The election law was also criticized by the Sunni Arab vice President Tarqi al-Hashimi, who threatened to veto the controversial law over the number of seats allocated for Iraqis outside the country.

© AFP/Rudaw/Xinhua