ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq’s deputy parliament speaker Hassan Kaabi revealed on Sunday that the electoral commission had set Nov. 16 as their suggested date for the country’s provincial elections.
“The government must take the necessary procedures for this date,” suggested by the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) as Nov. 16, 2019, Kaabi said.
The vote was scheduled for December 2019. This was delayed as disputes over government formation following the controversial national elections held on May 12 crippled parliament, which failed to provide the IHEC with the necessary funding to commence organizing the poll.
Provincial elections are held to replace the local councils in the country’s governorates. In Kirkuk, however, only one such poll – in 2005 – has taken place since the fall of the former regime in 2003.
Kirkuk is an ethnically-diverse province which consists of Turkmen, Arabs, Christians, and Kurds who make up the majority of the population. It is one of the disputed regions between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal government of Iraq.
One lawmaker in the Iraqi Parliament on Sunday claimed that other MPs had petitioned to postpone the Kirkuk votes again but that Kurdish MPs had countered such efforts.
“As part of the Kurdish component [in parliament], we were very worried as this is a violation of the essential rights of the people of Kirkuk” to elect their representatives and future administrators, Mariwan Nadir, an MP from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), told Kurdistan 24.
The Iraqi provincial elections do not include provinces in the Kurdistan Region: Erbil, Sulaimani, Duhok, and Halabja. The Kurdish region holds its own local elections as determined by its regional electoral commission.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany