Iraqi elections hinge on Kurds: Iraq Foundation for Development and Democracy

Iraqi elections hinge on Kurds: Iraq Foundation for Development and Democracy

Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 20 / Trend U.Sadikhova /

Iraqi Sunni parties, including Vice President Tareq al Hashim's political movement, are unlikely to refuse to participate in the parliamentary elections in January. Meanwhile, Kurdish MPs are likely to boycott, Iraqi Foundation for Development and Democracy (IFDD) head Ghassan Attiyah told Trend today over the phone from Baghdad.

"I doubt the Sunnis will boycott," he said. "However, the Kurds also have their own objections. Mainly they hope to increase the quotas on elected Kurds," he said.

According to Attiyah, the situation in Iraq during the elections is complicated. Nevertheless, Sunni parties will not boycott the elections as they did in 2005.

On Thursday, Iraq's highest federal court overturned a veto on the election law imposed by al-Hashimi. The latter expressed disagreement with the new bill decreasing the number of seats for Iraqis living abroad and wishing to run for parliament to seven from 45, Euronews reported.

"I'm not against all the bill's articles - only one," al-Hashimi said. "I want the law to remain valid for Iraqis living outside the country."

There are four million Iraqi refugees living abroad.

Al-Hashimi's veto on the law passed several weeks ago could disrupt the elections scheduled for Jan. 18-23. Not only Iraq hopes the elections will change the situation for the better, improve security and reduce tensions between communities and representatives of different faiths.

Kurdistan Regional Government head Masoud Barzani took an uncompromising position on the issue, saying he will boycott the elections if the quota on Kurdish parties in parliament is not increased.

After the federal court refused to accept al-Hashim's veto, the situation depends on the actions of the Kurds alone, he said. Barzani added that the future steps of Kurdish politicians will be known in several days - whether they will insist on increasing the quota in exchange for renouncing their boycott, or seek a compromise with the Sunni and Shiite factions.

Now the election law provides eight parliamentary seats to the representatives of Iraqi religious minorities, eight more seats will be divided amongst the citizens living abroad, and representatives of small political parties.

Iraq's prime minister, the head of the Shiite Al-Dawa Party of Nouri al-Maliki described the veto on the election law as a threat to the future of Iraqi, where the security control next year must be shifted from the coalition forces to national.

The United States is also dissatisfied with the events around the elections, the results of which are very important for Washington, given that the U.S. soldiers should leave the country by 2011.

According to analysts, neither the U.S. nor Iran, which is accused of interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq, are interested in disrupting the elections in the country, because this will worsen the situation there.

Iran will gain more benefits if the Iraqi parliament will have some Shiite parties, whether it is the party of Nouri al-Maliki or the Iraqi Shiite leader al-Hakim, who will clearly be supported by Iran, said Attiyya.

Earlier, Iraqi Kurds also delayed the adoption of the election law, explaining that through the establishment of the status of the oil-rich Kirkuk, where Arabs, Turkmens and Kurds live. Arabs and Turkmen argue that the new electoral lists reflect the increase in the number of Kurds in the province due to their recent years mass resettlement to Kirkuk. They prefer to vote upon the lists of 2004 or 2005.

Unlike 2005, the voting in the upcoming elections will take place not with closed, but open party lists, which will make them more democratic.

The Kurds claim that only those who were evicted from the province at the time of Saddam Hussein's governance returned to Kirkuk.

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