Aydin Maruf is a Turkmen Front MP in the Kurdistan Region parliament. File photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Turkmen Front in the Kurdistan Region is hopeful that unity within the Turkmen population will send one of their lawmakers to Baghdad for the first time.
Turkmen officials in Erbil have said they have nearly 50,000 voters. But the Turkmen Front hasn’t yet had any representation in Baghdad.
Individual Turkmen are running on other lists, but no other Turkmen party has entered the fray. An MP with the Turkmen Front in the Kurdistan Region parliament thinks this means Turkmen votes will not be scattered as in previous elections.
“Other than the Turkmen Front, other Turkmen parties do not take part and have no candidates for the election. This will make it possible for the Turkmen votes go to the Turkmen Front candidates. We will win votes of even the parties close to the KDP,” predicted Aydin Maruf.
The party is fielding five candidates in Erbil province for Iraq’s parliamentary elections.
One person who can take many votes from the Turkmen parties is a Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) candidate, Mala Bashir Khalil Adad – an influential Turkmen figure.
Khalil Adad won many votes in the last elections, going to the Iraqi parliament as a member of the KDP.
“My voters are based in Erbil. They are Turkmen and Kurdish,” he told Rudaw.
He supports the notion of Turkmen parties and candidates working together, saying “Having too many candidates and lists will scatter the votes.”
Maruf dismissed the influence Khalil Adad has, saying he puts party loyalty ahead of advocacy for the Turkmen.
“Mala Bashir doesn’t regard himself as a Turkmen and we don’t consider him a Turkmen either, although he comes from an authentic Turkmen family. He was a party person not a nation’s even in the past. I believe he would not take the votes of Erbil Turkmen,” Maruf predicted.
In addition to the KDP and Turkmen Front candidates, four Turkmen candidates are running on Haider al-Abadi’s Victory Coalition list in Erbil.
Himan Ramzi is one of them
“The Victory Alliance called for my candidacy. I want to go to the parliament as a Turkmen in order to defend human rights irrespective of national or religious differences,” she said.
She was motivated to enter politics to serve as a Turkmen voice in Baghdad and represent the minority population on a strong list.
The Turkmen have five quota seats in the Kurdistan Region parliament but none in the Iraqi parliament.
The Turkmen Front has two MPs in the outgoing Iraqi parliament – both from Kirkuk.