Turkmen party leader calls followers to vote for KDP in Iraqi elections

The Turkmen People’s Party has called on its supporters to vote for the leading Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in the upcoming Iraqi elections.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Turkmen People’s Party on Tuesday announced they would not participate in the upcoming Iraqi parliamentary elections in an independent list, calling its supporters to vote for the leading Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) instead.

Irfan Jamal Kirkukli, the leader of the Turkmen party, announced in a press conference in Erbil that the decision came after they agreed not to run in the elections as an independent Turkmen list, “considering the current situation in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.”

Kirkukli called on the party followers inside and outside of the country to vote for the KDP’s list 184. The KDP is the largest Kurdish party in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq, led by the former President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani.

Iraqi parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held on May 12. They are the first elections after the defeat of the Islamic State in the country.

The Turkmen People’s Party is a political party representing the Turkmen minority in Iraq. The party was founded in 1997 and repressed under the dictatorship led by Saddam Hussein. Following the fall of Hussein in 2003, the party re-emerged and operated in the country with its main headquarters established in Kirkuk Province.

It was one of the Turkmen parties that supported the Kurdistan Region’s Sep. 25 referendum on independence and voted in Kirkuk’s Provincial Council (KPC) to include the province in the poll.

Following the Oct. 16 attack and takeover of Kirkuk by Iraqi forces and the Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi militias, Turkmen People’s Party left the province along with other Kurdish parties and has been operating in Erbil since then.

The KDP has boycotted the Iraqi elections in Kirkuk and other areas in the south of the province, stating the region is currently run by a military administration since Oct. 16, referring to Iraqi forces and the Shia-dominated militia groups. It is the only Kurdish party that has boycotted elections in the province.

The Turkmen party leader had previously expressed his concerns to Kurdistan 24 that the Iran-backed militia groups occupied the party’s offices and headquarters in Kirkuk.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany