In the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, it seems that the majority of people do not care about which Iraqi political entity Kurdish parties should enter a coalition with. What they do want is one voice to be shared by the Kurdish parties regarding the major interests of the Kurdistan Region.
After the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) announced the final election results, Kurdish TVs began asking people on the street “who would you prefer the Kurds to ally with: Allawi or Maliki?”
“It doesn’t matter,” come most of the replies. “The most important thing is Kurdish unity in Baghdad.”
Altogether, Kurdish parties won 57 Iraqi parliament seats. The Kurdistan Alliance, composed of the two major Kurdish parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) got 43 seats.
And the other three Kurdish parties, well known as the opposition in the region, took the rest (Gorran 8 seats, the Kurdistan Islamic Union 4 seats and the Kurdistan Islamic Group 2 seats).
The KDP and PUK asked their Kurdish opposition parties to unite with them in the national parliament but the opposition parties continue to demand the resolution of problems at home before working together in Baghdad.
The three parties met before the election to discuss their views and the conditions they will demand from the Kurdistan Region’s President, Massoud Barzani.
“In the meeting we all agreed that Kurdish parties must have one voice in Baghdad. And also we have some demands about approaches to certain problems in Kurdistan Region,” said Abdulstar Majeed, a prominent member of the Kurdistan Islamic Group. Majeed did not give details about the problems they are going to ask the President to solve.
The talks – and the resolution of Kurdish differences – have become more important after Iyad Allawi’s Iraqiya list outperformed the Kurdish Alliance at the polls.
The KDP and PUK are furious over decision of other Kurdish parties to participate on separate lists.“60,000 Kurdish votes were wasted in Kirkuk because Kurdish parties were not united,” said Adnan Kirkuki, Kurdistan Alliance candidate who secured a seat.
“If we were united, we would have got 7 to 8 seats in Kirkuk,” Kirkuki added.
IHEC’s results show that the Kurdistan Alliance and Iraqiya each won six seats in Kirkuk Province.
And although 60,000 people voted for the Kurdish opposition parties, none of them managed to secure a single seat, meaning all those votes disappeared.
But the blame game works both ways.
“Before the election the KIU told the PUK and KDP that Kirkuk is a sensitive province and we have to be united. They rejected our call,” stated a spokesperson for the KIU.
Meanwhile, on 30 March, the Kurdistan Alliance officially filed a complaint with IHEC concerning the election process in Kirkuk and Ninewa province.
In a statement Kurdistan Alliance has demanded IHEC to count the votes in Kirkuk and Ninewa manually.
Also, the Alliance believes that Iraqiya committed fraud in some areas in Ninewa and Kirkuk.
“We have submitted to IHEC the meaningful evidence against the official election results in Ninewa and Kirkuk Provinces,” said Jahfar Ibrahim, a member of the KDP who supervised the election.
Ibrahim believes Kurds might win two extra parliamentary seats due to their objections in Kirkuk and Nineveh Provinces.
Kurds also lay accusations at the door of the UN.
“The UN was not neutral and supported fraud in Kirkuk province,” said Khalid Shwani, the victorious candidate of the Kurdistan Alliance. “Massive frauds took place by Al-Iraqiya list in the southern areas of Kirkuk province and UN supports those frauds.” He added.
Ad Melkert, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative to Iraq and the head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) sought to clarify the UN’s role in the Iraqi elections.
“The role of the United Nations is solely to advise institutions in the country on an impartial basis, at their request,” Mr. Melkert said in a statement posted on UN Website. “This is what the UN has done throughout the electoral process, in support of the Independent High Election Commission Board that has the sole decision-making power and has been unanimous in declaring the final result after reviewing complaints.”