ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region’s Independent High Election and Referendum Commission (IHERC) on Tuesday fined seven parties and candidates for violating electoral laws as campaigning for the Sep. 30 parliamentary election a day earlier.
The parties and candidates were fined for failing to abide by electoral laws and instructions, which are signed and agreed to by the head of each lists vying for a seat in parliament, according to the IHERC’s statement.
Both the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), list No. 183, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), list No. 105, were each fined IQD 3,000,000 (roughly USD 2,500).
The Islamic coalition of “Towards Reform,” list No. 119, which comprises of the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) and Kurdistan Islamic Movement (KIM), was fined 1,000,000 ($800), the IHERC stated.
Smaller parties were also among those punished. The Turkmen Development Party, list No. 215, the Turkmen Reform Party, list No. 258, and the Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Popular Council, list No. 344, were each fined IQD 1,000,000 ($800).
Irwant Nissan Marcos, an Armenian candidate, was individually hit with a fine of IQD 500,000 ($350).
The statement did not offer details on the violations, but photos posted to Kurdish social media networks over the past few days suggest some candidates began their electoral campaign before the official start date set by the IHERC.
Others put up campaign posters in public areas, prohibited by the commission.
The election campaign for the Sep. 30 vote officially began on Tuesday early morning.
According to the IHERC, 702 candidates are competing to fill the 111 seats available in parliament. There are 28 groups in total running for office.
Eleven of the seats are reserved for minorities, and 30 for women.
With a population of almost six million people, the Kurdistan Region has more than three million eligible voters.
The election comes five months after Iraq held its national elections on May 12.
Editing by Nadia Riva