ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Campaigning for the national parliamentary election has kicked off in the Kurdistan Region on Sunday, one day after the rest of Iraq, with 503 candidates competing in the semi-autonomous region for seats in the Iraqi parliament.
Posters for candidates and parties can now be seen in cities and towns across the Kurdistan Region, with as many electoral slogans being promoted.
The campaign was delayed by a day to observe the 30th Anfal anniversary in the Kurdish region on Saturday. People commemorated the attack that claimed the lives of over 100,000 people, killed by the former Iraqi government.
“There are 3,144,730 people eligible to vote in the Kurdistan Region” in the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled on May 12, Mazin Abdul-Khaliq, the head of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) Kurdistan Region’s branch, said in a press conference.
His comment came after meeting with a delegation from the Kurdistan Region’s High Council of Women’s Affairs, where they discussed the need to ensure female candidates are protected from any form of abuse during the campaign.
Abdul-Khaliq stated that 25 entities in the Kurdistan Region are participating in the May elections. Nineteen are political parties, four are coalitions, and two are running as independent candidates.
“In total, 503 candidates in the Kurdistan Region are running in these elections. There are 357 male candidates and 146 women with their names on the ballot,” the IHEC official said.
He mentioned that according to Iraqi law, no less than 25 percent of the Iraqi Parliament’s seats must be held by women and that at least 25 percent of every parties’ candidates should be female.
The Kurdistan Region has 46 allotted seats in the Iraqi Parliament. Sixteen of the seats are for representatives from Erbil, 18 from Sulaimani, and 12 from Duhok province. Two positions from Erbil and Duhok are reserved for Christian representatives, according to Abdul-Khaliq.
Editing by Nadia Riva