ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Candidates from 37 parties and electoral lists have officially begun registering for the Sep. 30 parliamentary elections in the Kurdistan Region on Saturday.
During the month of June, parties and coalitions in the Kurdistan Region registered with the electoral commission. Candidates can only participate in the poll if they are associated with a registered party, the Kurdistan Region’s Independent High Elections and Referendum (IHERC) explained.
Regional parliamentary elections will be held nearly five months after Iraq held its national election on May 12.
Parties have until July 25 to present and register their candidates, Zhiyar Dizayee, the head of IHERC’s registry office, told Kurdistan 24 on Saturday.
Candidates must successfully meet the requirements outlined in the region’s electoral law, as amended by Parliament in 1992. According to Dizayee, this means candidates must be from the Kurdistan Region, at least 25 years of age, hold no criminal record or convictions, and must be able to read and write.
The law allows for those without a high education degree to run in the parliamentary election. It does, however, prevent candidates from running independently.
“Experience, geographic location, and professionalism are the principles upon which we chose our candidates,” Hazhar Mohammed, a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), told Kurdistan 24 on Saturday.
“We are also mindful of having a fair number of candidates from both gender and of different ages,” Mohammed said.
The Communist Party of Kurdistan (CPK) has different requirements for its candidates, mostly focused on political ideology.
“Those who become a candidate of the Communist Party of Kurdistan should be left-of-center, politically speaking, identify as Democrats, and support equal rights for all. They should defend the rights of people based on these principles,” Handren Mohammed, a member of the CPK politburo, told Kurdistan 24.
The IHERC is expected to hold a lottery to assign numbers to each party and electoral list next week.
Elections for the Kurdistan Region’s Parliament were last held on Sep. 21, 2013. The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) won 38 seats, Gorran (Change) 24, and the PUK came in third with 18 seats out of a total 111.
Editing by Nadia Riva