Iraqi Christians pray in a church. File photo: AFP
By Nasir Ali
DUHOK, Kurdistan Region – Eighteen Christian candidates are competing for five seats reserved for them in the Kurdistan Region parliament.
In the past, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) were criticized for nominating their own people as candidates for quota seats. This time, the Change Movement (Gorran) has also created a list for Christians.
The Rafidain List has five candidates running for parliament, the Christian Democratic List has three, the Council of Chaldean and Assyrian Nations has five, and the National Union Coalition has five.
The Council of Chaldean and Assyrian Nations currently has two MPs and is looking to hold on to them.
“The city of Duhok is very important for us. That is why three of the five candidates are from the province of Duhok. We have confidence we will win enough votes,” Shamsadin Gorgis, head of the Council of Chaldean and Assyrian Nations, told Rudaw.
Election campaigning will be especially heated in the city of Duhok because 70 percent of Christian list candidates are from this province, Gorgis said.
Farid Jacob, leader of the Democratic Assyrian Movement in Duhok and head of his party’s Rafidain List, said three of their candidates are from the province of Duhok.
The Democratic Assyrian Movement currently has two MPs and expects to win four this time round.
“The KDP is eying even quota seats. We have only five candidates. Please give up on these seats. Let real Christian representatives reach the parliament,” Jacob said.
“In the past, the KDP only supported candidates of the Council of Chaldean and Assyrian Nations to reach parliament. This time, Gorran has created a list for Christians too, and is supporting its candidates,” Jacob said.
Gorran is supporting the Democratic Christian List that has three candidates.
“The list Gorran is supporting represents Christians of Erbil and Sulaimani. Gorran wants quota MPs to support its positions in the parliament just like the KDP,” Jacob said.
The Abnaolnahrain List currently has one MP and 5 candidates for the upcoming election, but decided to boycott the election on September 11 after parliament failed to amend election laws so that only minorities can vote for quota candidates. This would stop the larger parties targeting quota seats
“Christian quota seats should be for Christians and their real representatives should go to the parliament. We don’t want other parties to create lists for us so that we fulfill their agenda in the parliament,” Jacob said.