Kurdish student raises the flag of Kurdistan in a graduation ceremony in November 2017 in Sulaimnai, Kurdistan Region. File photo: Rudaw/Sartip Othman
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Kurdish election commission is capable of holding general elections in the Kurdistan Region in mid-April, according to Rudaw sources.
Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani is expected to hold a trilateral meeting with the commission and the Kurdish parliament this week to set a date for the parliamentary and presidential elections.
Shwan Shekh Ahmad, a Kurdish MP, told Rudaw that the PM has the power to call for elections, in consultation with the Kurdish parliament.
One of the main demands of Kurdish parties, especially from Kurdistan's largest opposition party of Gorran, is to demand the voter record be audited to ensure a fair and clean election. PM Barzani said in late December that his government is ready to help the election commission with this task, adding that it is the wish of every party including his ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
Removing names of the dead or duplicates from the records of the commission may take about a month, Rudaw understands.
Shirwan Zirar, spokesperson for the election body, told Rudaw that they will submit an official budget in their upcoming meeting with the parliament and the government officials.
He said they had initially requested 23 billion Iraqi dinars ($19.3 million) when they met with the KRG last week, but that figure may change once the commission meets to calculate the spending associated with the process.
Jutiyar Adil, a member of the commission, told Rudaw in August last year that the KRG had dedicated $31.8 million for the general elections in order to prepare for the now-delayed November 1 elections.
On December 12, PM Barzani asked the Kurdish parliament to set a date for parliamentary and presidential elections within three months.
Iraqi parliamentary and provincial elections are scheduled to take place on May 12. The Iraqi parliamentary election will also include the Kurdistan Region, but will be organized by the Iraqi election commission.
The Kurdish parliament in late October decided to postpone the election that was initially scheduled for November 1, mainly because of the Iraqi military's incursion into disputed or Kurdistani areas claimed by both Erbil and Baghdad, such as oil-rich Kirkuk that fell to the Iraqi forces on October 16.
Also in late October, the parliament extended its current term for eight months.