Kurdish Parties to Run Separately in Upcoming Iraq Polls

By RUDAW 2 – 25-11-2013 – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurdish parties in Iraq will run in next April’s legislative elections separately instead of a single bloc following approval of a seat distribution formula that gives small parties a better chance of winning seats, a spokesman said.

“I can say the Kurdish parties will take part in the polls individually,” said Muayad Tayib the spokesman for the Kurdistan Alliance in the Iraqi parliament. Earlier this month Iraqi lawmakers passed an election law after weeks of intense quarreling among Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis over the bill.

The new law includes the so-called Sainte-Lague method for calculating votes, which will impact the “leftover” seats following the initial distribution. Under the former agreement, parties that had won seats would distribute those votes among themselves, leaving out the smaller groups. The new system is believed to favor the smaller parties. “Practically, and due to the Sainte-Lague method inserted in the election law, it’s better for parties to take part as smaller coalitions, “ Tayib said.

He predicted that the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and its strategic ally the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) will also run separately.“KDP and PUK will run on two different lists for the parliamentary elections even outside the  Kurdistan Region,” Tayib said. According to Shiite leaders, they also are contemplating taking part in the election separately or  as smaller coalitions.

“Because vote calculations will be based on the Sainte-Lague method, it is expected that many lists will win seats and enter the next parliament,” said Habib Tarafi a senior leader for the Iraqi Islamic Supreme Council (IISC), which is led by Ammar al-Hakim.“The political landscape of Iraq will change; formation of government will be harder this time and the sectarian features of Iraqi politics will be bolder as more lists will gain seats in the election,” Tarafi told Rudaw. According to The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHCE), 270 parties and lists have registered to take part in the April 2014 parliamentary elections

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