The Failure of Islamic Parties in Erbil

Hemin Salih – BasNews (Erbil): 6.12.2013 – Kurdistan’s Parliamentary elections on Sept. 21 shed light on the decreasing popularity of Islamic parties in the Erbil province. Compared to the previous Iraqi Parliamentary elections in March 2010, the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) and the Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG) saw a significant loss in votes.

MP and member of KIG, Soran Omar, said the reason for the loss of votes is rooted in the disputed areas outside the Kurdistan Region, which were not given the right to vote in the elections. “In the Iraqi Parliamentary election, Ali Bapir, the Amir of KIG nominated himself and gained 57,000 votes, but in the last elections none of the candidates could reach more than 15,000 votes; these two elections cannot be compared to each other,” said Omar.

Kurdish political analyst, Foad Majid Misri, said that “the Islamic blocs have always been extremists and stood against many important Kurdish causes, while supporting issues that were against Kurdish nationalism, like disrespecting the Kurdish national anthem. They have their own agenda, and they are trying to force it onto the community through political pressure. We need more social awareness to stop these Islamic parties, that are hindering the development of our society.”  

During the first session of the new parliament, a number of members of the Islamic parties did not stand up during the Kurdish national anthem, prompting criticism from other MPs. Ali Bapir has long opposed the idea of showing respect for the Kurdish national anthem, and more people are increasingly agreeing with this view, according to Omar. “We are not against the whole Kurdish national anthem, only parts of it. We will show respect when the anthem is amended to fit the principles of Islam,” said Omar.Although more people in the Erbil province have been given the right to vote (an extra 42,549 voters), KIU and KIG still faced a decline in votes with 7,172 votes for the KIU and 5,729 for the KIG.