SCHARIA IN KURDISTAN
“If they try to make Islam the only source of legislation, that is fine,” said Shiwan Qaladizayi, a senior leader of Kurdistan Islamic League. “Other than that, any amendment to that article is unacceptable.”
Rudaw – 17.6.2013 – ERBIL – Kurdistan Region’s two ruling parties have agreed to postpone the presidential elections, which were set for September.
Leaders of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) agreed to postpone the elections hours before regional President Massoud Barzani sent a special proposal to Parliament, advising lawmakers to study the views of all political parties on the draft constitution.
“It is better if we postpone the elections so that we can draw a new election law and amend some articles of the constitution,” said Dana Saeed, a PUK member of parliament. PUK and KDP leaders have called on other groups to join this agreement and put on hold the elections until after the issue of the constitution has been resolved.
The opposition parties are likely to give their consent to the postponement of the September vote.
Hiwa Mirza, a member of the Kurdistan Islamic Union political bureau told Rudaw that the suggestion of the ruling parties might be the sensible solution for now.“Opposition groups demand that the constitution is sent back to Parliament for amendment before the next president is elected,” he said. “And now, the negotiations all imply that that is what may happen in the end.”
Leaders of Kurdistan’s main opposition party, the Change Movement (Gorran) who strongly oppose Barzani’s nomination for a third term as president, welcome the idea of postponing the elections.
“Not only the presidential elections, but the parliamentary and provincial elections that are supposed to take place at the same time have legal issues that need to be solved,” said Kardo Mohammad, head of the Gorran bloc in the Kurdish Parliament. “This means the elections will be delayed.” Barzani managed to ease political tensions last week when he asked all political parties to present their views on the constitution to parliament. Kurdish parties had welcomed this move as a positive step, and had immediately sent the president their recommendations about the draft constitution, which has deeply divided the political sphere in the past several weeks.
Meanwhile, a new controversy emerged on the horizon on Article 6 of the constitution, which says that all laws must be based on — and in conformity with — Islamic Sharia laws.
Civil society organizations have called on Parliament to amend Article 6, saying it does not conform to freedoms and democracy. “Article 6 says Islam is the source of all laws, but that should be amended,” said Ali Mahmoud, an Erbil-based activist. “It should say that Islam is only one of the sources of legislation. The rest should be based on democracy, people’s needs and the culture, like the constitutions of all advanced countries.” Islamic parties were the main drive behind installing Article 6 in the Kurdish constitution in 2009, and now oppose any attempt to remove or amend it. “If they try to make Islam the only source of legislation, that is fine,” said Shiwan Qaladizayi, a senior leader of Kurdistan Islamic League. “Other than that, any amendment to that article is unacceptable.”