People drive under a bridge in the northern city of Mosul on April 14, 2018, bearing the campaign posters for candidates in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Photo: Zaid al-Obeidi | AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A Shiite leader has predicted that Kurds will secure the same amount of votes they had received in previous elections in Kirkuk.
“Indeed, each phase of elections will have a different result. Elections are the result of the trust of people and political pressures will have no influence on the vote,” Karim Nuri, a parliament candidate from the Fatih Alliance who has been a member of the Badr organization, told Rudaw.
Thus, Nuri said: “Kurds will achieve the same number of votes they have won in the past.”
He rejected the current situation is not helpful for Kurdish campaigns ahead of the May 12 elections.
“First of all, they [Kurdish parties] could work in the city… If Kirkuk passes through a particular security situation, then it this will not create obstacles to the freedom of voters,” he added. “We wish to see an influential turnout...”
Kurdish officials have several times said they are worried about the fate of their votes in Kirkuk in absence of Peshmerga and the Kurdistan flag.
The Kurdish parties unanimously agree that the weight of Kurdish votes in the May election will not be as heavy as that of the previous, given the fact that thousands of people fled the city on October 16 and onwards in the wake of the Iraqi forces’ incursion into the city.
Some 15,000 people displaced from Kirkuk will be deprived from voting in May as the elections body has not prepared polling stations outside the province for the IDPs.
And the KDP, which has been the second-largest Kurdish party in Kirkuk, decided to not run for elections, deeming the city as “sold out” and “invaded” in light of the lack of Peshmerga and Asayish.
There are 13 parliamentary seats up for grabs in Kirkuk province. Kurdish parties won eight seats in the 2014 elections.
Some 952,000 people are eligible to vote in Kirkuk, according to the Iraqi elections body and 315 polling stations have been prepared.
Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal), Change Movement (Gorran) and the newly established Coalition for Democracy and Justice (CDJ) formed the Homeland Alliance for Kirkuk and Diyala provinces, aiming to garner Kurdish and Kurdistani support in the disputed areas.
Nuri also talked about the “democracy” of several Shiite sides running for elections on separate lists.
“This is something normal to have competition among Shiite sides for the elections, as is the case among Kurds and Sunnis. This is how democracy works. What really matters is for the competition not to create moral and constitutional violations,” he added.
He rejected claims that the leader of the Fatih Alliance, Hadi al-Amiri would eye the post of prime minister.
“Any talks or words expressed with respect to the position of the prime minister even before the elections are held, are untrue,” he said, adding the appointing of a new prime minister depends on alliances and agreements after elections.
Fatih Alliance is a coalition of organizations with ties to Hashd al-Shaabi forces. Hadi al-Amiri heads the alliance ahead of the Iraqi parliamentary election.