QAMISHLO, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan 24) - Syrians voted on Friday in an election organized by the Kurdish-led authorities of northern Syria, the second round of a three-phase process to set up new municipalities seeking regional autonomy.
Kurdistan 24 correspondents in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) who headed to several polling places in the towns and cities of the region said voters started casting their ballots from 9.00 a.m. till 8.00 p.m. local time.
“It’s a historic day for the people of the region that is the safest and most prosperous in the country,” said Rawshan, 23, among several dozen people casting their votes in Qamishlo for the municipalities shared heads.
The Election High Commission in Rojava said the elections were monitored by international organizations and a delegation of parliamentarians from Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) that contained representatives of the three main parties of KRG.
Another delegation of the US-led coalition, an international alliance taking part in fighting against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq, toured the polling stations in Rojava, the Syrian-based Kurdish Hawar news agency reported.
Voters were picking heads out of about 5700 candidates spread across three regions of the north where Kurdish authorities have established self-rule in cantons, since 2012.
The candidates were classified in three lists representing the political factions in the region. One is called the Democratic Nation—which includes 18 political parties, among which is the PYD, the main ruling party of Syria’s Kurdish-held areas.
Syria’s Kurdish National Council (ENKS), an opposition coalition against the current administration whose main party is the Democratic Union Party (PYD), views the election as illegal and boycotted them.
The first round of elections in northern Syria was held in September for bodies running local communities.
Today’s elections for local councils will culminate in January with the election of an assembly that will act as a parliament for a federal system of government in northern Syria.
Through these elections, Kurdish groups and their allies that control close to a quarter of Syria stated they seek to secure autonomy as part of a decentralized Syria, and insist they do not want to follow the example of the Kurds of northern Iraq who voted in an independence referendum in September.
But their autonomy plans are opposed by the Syrian government in Damascus, by neighboring Turkey, and by the United States even though it is fighting alongside the Syrian Kurdish YPG in against the Islamic State (IS).
Editing by Sam A.