ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurdistan Region parties have announced their candidates to head up their campaigns for the September 30 parliamentary vote.
The heads of lists are a mix of well-known faces, young up-and-comers, and experienced candidates.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) elected Hemin Hawrami, the youngest member of the party’s Leadership Council to top their list. Hawrami is also head of KDP President Masoud Barzani's office for political affairs.
Hemin Hawrami, the head of the KDP list for the September 30 parliamentary election of the Kurdistan Region. Photo: Rudaw TV
He was selected for his youth and intelligence, Khasraw Goran, head of KDP’s elections office, told Rudaw English.
He described Hawrami as an "advanced cadre" of the KDP who holds degrees and speaks several languages.
The KDP is the largest political party in the Kurdistan Region with 38 seats in the outgoing parliament, followed by Gorran's 24.
Gorran has chosen incumbent MP Ali Hama Saleh to lead them into the election.
Ali Hama Sale tops the Change Movement list for the Kurdistan Region's parliamentary election. Photo: Facebook / Ali Hama Saleh
Saleh collected more than 130,000 votes alone for Gorran, the highest number of votes for any single candidate in the 2013 regional election.
He is a prominent MP, known as the “calculator” of Gorran. Before entering politics, Salih hosted an economics program on KNN TV.
Officials from Gorran were not immediately available for comment.
The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), traditionally the second ruling party of the Kurdistan Region alongside the KDP, has elected KRG Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, the son of late party founder Jalal Talabani, to head its list.
Qubad Talabani, deputy prime minister of the Kurdistan Region, son of the late Jalal Talabani, and an influential party member, heads the PUK list. Photo: Rudaw
Talabani was a last minute replacement. Late on Saturday, PUK’s first nominee Arsalan Baiz declined the position.
In a statement, Baiz said he has served the PUK for four years and he wanted to leave the position to someone else to take over.
Zubair Osman, a PUK official told Rudaw that Baiz withdrew due to health issues.
The party is confident in their alternate choice of Talabani. Shadman Mala Hassan, a journalist and PUK member, said the younger son of the party’s founder was fit for the position because he has been in the government for a long time already and because of his background.
"Qubad Talabani has been in the government for a long time and has been able to keep a balance within the environment of the government and amid all the political rivalries and stalemates," Mala Hassan said.
He described Talabani as a “moderate” person and said his youth will be an asset.
The PUK currently has 18 seats in the parliament.
The largest Islamic party, the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU), holds 10 seats in the outgoing parliament. The party is running on a joint list with the Kurdistan Islamic Movement (IKM), which has two seats.
Sherko Jawdat, an incumbent MP in the Kurdistan parliament, head of the natural resources committee, and member of the KIU, heads the joint Toward Reform list of his party and the Islamic Movement. Photo: Facebook / Sherko Jawdat
Sherko Jawdat, an incumbent MP and KIU member who heads the oil and gas committee in the outgoing parliament, has been elected to head the joint 'Toward Reform' list.
Qasim Galalai, head of KIU’s elections office, praised Jawdat’s experience in parliamentary work and knowledge in the areas of the economy and administration, as well as organizational skills.
He said the party as a whole preferred Jawdat over any other person to top the Toward Reform List.
The Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal, KIG), which has six seats in the outgoing parliament, chose their candidate Soran Omer in a leadership meeting, spokesperson Rebwar Hama told Rudaw English.
Soran Omer, an incumbent MP and a member of the Komal party, was elected by the party's leadership to head its list. Photo: Rudaw
They want to bring about a new model to the Kurdistan Region, Hama said.
"Those leading the lists should not always come from the leadership, but every cadre should have an equal right to top the lists and become the number one candidate of the parties,” he explained.
He described Omer as a "successful" MP in the outgoing parliament.
The Coalition for Democracy and Justice (CDJ), the party of former KRG Prime Minister Barham Salih founded last fall, is facing its first KRG election.
The party announced its list of 100 candidates on Saturday, headed by Hakim Samad Mohammed.
Hakim Samad Mohammed was named the head of the CDJ list for the Kurdistan Region's parliament election. Photo: Facebook.
Mohammed is “the right person” for the job, Rebwar Karim, CDJ spokesperson, told Rudaw English.
The party took into account the past experience of all the candidates before nominating them, he explained, and Samad was found to be an "effective and active" activist in a variety of fields, most importantly the environment.
"It is important for us to nominate these people," he said.
"Naturally, our coalition is diverse," said Alan Barzinji, member of the CDJ election body. "The CDJ wants to be an umbrella to rescue all the people of Kurdistan."
The CDJ performed poorly in Iraq's May 12 parliamentary election, obtaining just two seats.
A second new party, New Generation Movement (Neway Nwe), is also contesting the election.
The party is headed by businessman-turned-politician Shaswar Abdulwahid who was selected to lead the party’s list.
Shaswar Abdulwahid, the president of the newly founded New Generation Movement, speaks at a conference in Sulaimani. Photo: Abdulwahid's Facebook page / File
“I am happy to announce that I have accepted @NewayNwe nominating for prime minister position and leading the list in the September elections,” he tweeted on Sunday.
The party has positioned itself as an alternative to the traditional ruling parties and a voice for the youth.
The Sardam (Modern) alliance is composed of the Kurdistan Socialist Democratic Party, the Kurdistan Workers’ and Toilers’ Party, and the Nation Democratic Union of Kurdistan.
Their list is headed by Abdullah Haji Mahmood. He is the brother of Mohammed Haji Mahmood, leader of the Kurdistan Socialist Democratic Party.
There are 111 seats up for grabs in the Kurdistan Region parliament, 11 of which are reserved for minorities.