22 Sep 2013 – Kurdistan Tribune – Voting to elect a new Kurdistan regional parliament ended officially at 5 pm today. The day has mostly gone smoothly, although there are reports of some attempts at fraud by Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) supporters in Erbil city and Dhok.
One reported irregularity is that KDP supporters encouraged people to vote late, after the 5pm deadline. There is also a report that the manager of the Shabak centre voting station was assaulted after he refused to allow KDP officials to carry out ballot rigging there. The leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) parliamentary list, Tareq Jawhar, told ‘Kurdsat’ that the PUK will register a complaint that some voting centres in Erbil and Dhok allowed people to go in and vote late. The opposition parties also issued statements saying they did not want the voting hours extended and the electoral High Commission has stated that any votes cast after 5 pm should not be counted.
These concerns could delay the final results although preliminary results are expected later tonight. However, observers believe the ruling KDP has had fewer opportunities for vote rigging than in previous elections. This is partly due to the deployment of electronic machinery this time which stamped and recorded every voter card. Additionally, the management of the electoral High Commission has been changed since the last election, with the Iraq central government appointing a new leadership that is less pro-KDP than before.
Unlike the PUK, the opposition Gorran movement has not issued any statement about fraud, which means the movement is so far happy with the process.