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Kurdish parties meet in new attempt to unify vote for Iraqi elections

By Rudaw 7/2/2018
Kurdish political parties discussed ways to cooperate during elections in the disputed areas. File photo: Rudaw
Kurdish political parties discussed ways to cooperate during elections in the disputed areas. File photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – In another attempt to unify the Kurdish vote ahead of Iraq’s elections, political parties of the Kurdistan Region met on Tuesday to discuss coordinating in the disputed areas. The parties’ election offices will meet again to talk technical aspects of an alliance.

"The meeting looked into the way in which we can participate in the Article 140 territories and disputed territories in the upcoming Iraqi elections," Dr. Rebwar Karim, spokesperson of the newly formed Coalition for Democracy and Justice (CDJ), told Rudaw.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Gorran, Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal), Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU), and other parties were all in attendance.
"The Kurdish parties have shown like-mindedness, and only the technical aspect of it remains. I hope we will reach a good result," Rebaz Berkuty, a member of the PUK delegation, told journalists.

He added that the Kurdish parties need to be united and provide a collective redefinition of the situation following the events of October 16 when Iraqi forces took control of the majority of the disputed areas. 
"We have to try to be united in the upcoming elections and show the enemies of the Kurds that we are united when it comes to national questions," Berkuty explained.

They also agreed to present a joint front to the Iraqi government in Baghdad. 

"We today agreed to speak with the government. We here express our full support for the efforts and struggle of the Kurdish factions and Kurdish parliament members in Baghdad," Balen Abdullah, member of the presidency council of the Kurdistan Toilers Party, told journalists.
Abdullah added they are planning to send a strongly-worded memorandum to the central Iraqi government.

The Kurdish parties tried previously to form a grand coalition for Iraq’s May 12 parliamentary elections, but ultimately failed because of deep-rooted disputes between parties. 

Three parties, Gorran, Komal, and CDJ, formed the Nishtiman alliance to run collectively in the disputed areas.

Nishtiman had previously said it would not permit the KDP or PUK to join its alliance, saying their failed policies in the disputed areas and the events of October 16 have made the two traditional ruling parties unpopular in these regions. 

The meeting on Tuesday was requested by parties outside of the Nishtiman coalition, according to Karim. 
The PUK has formed a strategic alliance with the Arab Masses, a Sunni party, to run in Saladin province and Tuz Khurmatu.

The KIU is running independently while the KDP and the Kurdistan Islamic Movement have announced boycotts.

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