Kurdish leader discusses election law with Iraqi parliament speaker
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader Masoud Barzani on Sunday received the speaker of the Iraqi parliament in Erbil to discuss various national political developments, upcoming early parliamentary elections, and ongoing Baghdad-Erbil disputes.
A statement from Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi’s office stated that during their talk, they focused on Iraqi parliamentary election law as well as several pieces of legislation being put before lawmakers in the near future, including an amendment to the Federal Supreme Court Law.
The statement added that they both stressed the importance of unifying the projects of multiple disparate political forces while holding them accountable for assuming their responsibility to work together.
Other priorities included “solving outstanding problems between the federal government and the regional government within the framework of the constitution, to work for the national interest, and to achieve social justice.”
The new election law provisions consist of 50 new articles, with the 15th having proven so far to be the most controversial. It states that "each province, district, and sub-district will have their electoral zone, while previously each province had one electoral zone including the districts, and subdistricts,” which means that minority votes in each district and sub-district will be unaccounted for in their locality if the representative chosen there does not win.
The amendment of the provincial election law was approved after the parliament voted on and passed the bill just over a year ago, in July 2019.
The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) committee on territories disputed by Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region challenged the amendment to Iraq’s provincial election law at the federal Supreme Court in Sept. 2019. The primary rationale was that the KRG challenged the law's constitutionality because it prevented large segments of the population that had been displaced from voting at camps where they lived or indeed anywhere other than their home towns.
Essentially, Article 15 decides the structure and number of electoral districts by turning each sub-district administrative division into independent constituencies. Kurdish lawmakers have voiced their concerns that this disproportionally limits the Kurdish vote in areas it disputes with Baghdad.
Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi set June 6, 2021, as the date for early general elections, pledging that they would be fair, carried out under significant international supervision, and free of undue influence from political parties and armed militias.
Editing by John J. Catherine