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Rudaw

Kurdistan

Kurdistan Polls Raise Opposition Hopes of a Power Shift

By RUDAW 29/8/2013
Supporters of the Change Movement (Gorran) wave their party's banner in their election campaign.
Supporters of the Change Movement (Gorran) wave their party's banner in their election campaign.

  

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – As campaigning kicked off Wednesday for parliamentary elections in the Kurdistan Region, the main opposition party in the autonomous Iraqi enclave said it is hopeful the polls will lead to a power shift from the ruling coalition.

“Governance over the past four years has been so terrible that we believe the next elections will be different and change Kurdistan’s political map,” said Aram Sheikh Muhammad, head of the election commission for the main opposition Change Movement (Gorran).

“We believe the future government will belong to the opposition, and it is with that spirit that we enter the elections,” he said ahead of the September 21 polls for the regional legislature.

“The next phase is the phase of the exchange of power,” Gorran leader Nawshirwan Mustafa told party members at their summer convention.

The polls will be the first in which the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) are running separately, instead of under a single banner. The two are odds over voter rolls, which the PUK says are inflated and contain the names of thousands of citizens who have since passed away.

Gorran, which split from the PUK in 2009 and won 25 of Kurdistan’s 111 parliament seats in polls the same year, has since posed a serious political threat to the PUK in Sulaimani province. Between them, the PUK and KDP hold the majority of seats in parliament.

Islamist opposition groups are also hopeful that the polls will change Kurdistan’s political landscape in their favor.

Abubakir Ali, a member of the Kurdistan Islamic Union party, said that anti-government demonstrations and opposition protests “didn’t really bring the needed change. Therefore, all eyes are on the elections now.

“It is our goal to enter the government with a new outlook and a new plan,” he vowed.

The Islamic League (Komal) has expressed the same sentiment, hoping to win a few more seats in parliament, as well as more government posts.

But Dilshad Garmiyani, one of Komal’s most senior leaders, has called on supporters to boycott the polls, which he says are un-Islamic.

“Islam cannot be brought to power through the ballot box,” said Garmiyani. “Nowhere in the Koran or the words of Prophet Muhammad are elections mentioned,” he said in a Facebook post.

Garmiyani, an extremist who fled Kurdistan for Iran -- and later to Sudan and Syria -- over fears of arrest by US forces following the 2003 invasion, returned eight years later. He says he has forbidden members of his clique within Komal from running or voting in the upcoming elections.

 

Comments

 
No-hipocracy | 29/8/2013
You have to love the double standards of Komal; they feel its 'un-islamic' to take part in democratic elections but will happily run around preaching their bile and poison under the safety net afforded to them by democracy. Shameless.
Kurdistani83 | 30/8/2013
“Islam cannot be brought to power through the ballot box,” said Garmiyani. “Nowhere in the Koran or the words of Prophet Muhammad are elections mentioned,” he said in a Facebook post. so what does he think should be done? gain power through a coupe? these are the same people who are sending Kurds to fight Kurds in Syria and join the Jhubta Al Nusra... We need to shut their party down and kick 'em outta kurdistan...there's no place here for these idiots.
Mamo Atroushi | 30/8/2013
What message does Gorran have for the new cabinet. Do they make Kurdistan better and to be less corrupted than KDP and PUK as they claim? Totally not? It is only a slogan instead of having a strategic plan. They only introduced strange behaviors into the parliament such as attacking other parliament members and hitting the tables instead of carrying a better plan.
Wakeup | 4/9/2013
Rudaw you are distorting the facts. You know that Garmiani did not say that, and that account on Facebook you quoted was a fake one, as he said in an official statement. He also provided the link for his official account. In his own party (Komal) where the basis for decision making is more democratic than any of KDP and PUK, Garmiani is taught to believe in diversity of opinions. Unlike the senior PUK leader who yesterday declared that they will not tolerate the Islamic parties to take power through elections and they will fight them even in 2020 with the weapons supposedly PUK used in 1976! Wake up people.
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