KDP accused of systematic voter fraud in Mosul council elections

Kurdistan Tribune – 23.6.2013 – Veteran Kurd leader Mahmoud Osman has added his voice to the clamour condemning the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) following recent local council elections in Mosul and Makmur. Referring to claims of fraud, the Iraq parliament MP told Awene: “The way the KDP has acted in Mosul shows that they will act the same in the Kurdistan parliament elections”.

The KDP emerged as the winner among the Kurdish parties but these results were swiftly followed by allegations of systematic malpractice. On Monday, the Kurdish opposition parties and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in Mosul issued a joint statement giving details of the alleged electoral fraud. Examples included sending non-resident members of the Peshmerga forces to vote and giving ID cards to local Arabs and pressurising them to vote for the KDP.

However, some observers believe such blatant fraud was mainly due to the ambitions of local KDP leaders in Mosul rather than an overall KDP strategy.

Ali Bapir, the Islamic League leader, told Payam TV: “Fraud and irregularities in elections is unethical. Whoever does it has no ethics”. Tellingly, one commentator compared the allegations to the KDP’s deal with Saddam Hussein during the 1990s civil war.

Burham Yasin,  a professor based in Sweden, told Sbeiy: “If the party can commit the crime of 31 August 1996 and collaborate with the Iraqi regime, it would be quite natural for them to do this”. These events have added to the turmoil inside the PUK and politburo member Mula Bakhtiar told Livinpress: “We are going to declare our position shortly”. Referring to the KDP’s recent ‘U-turn’ over bringing the constitution back to parliament, Reformist Party leader Qadir Aziz said he thought this was just a manoeuvre by the KDP designed to keep President Barzani in power. Kurdistan’s parliamentary elections are due to be held at the end of August.