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Rudaw

Iraq

47 Yezidis register their candidacy for Iraqi elections

By Nasir Elî 19/2/2018
A photo taken on June 1, 2017, shows people rebuilding war-torn Shingal block-by-block. Photo: Chris Johannes | Rudaw
A photo taken on June 1, 2017, shows people rebuilding war-torn Shingal block-by-block. Photo: Chris Johannes | Rudaw
DUHOK, Kurdistan Region — Contrary to the sluggish process of development and return of IDPs to their Yezidi hometowns, Shingal appears to be heading toward a hotly-contested  election with some locals expressing that politicians “are busy getting themselves posts and positions for themselves at our expense.”

So far, 47 Yezidis candidates have registered for the Iraqi parliamentary elections on May 12, vying for the votes of nearly 160,000 locals. They will campaign on seven lists in provinces of Duhok and Nineveh, as the Shingal region straddles both.

February 15 was the deadline for registering names of candidates with the Iraqi electoral commission.

In the previous three elections, most Yezidis voted for the KDP in these two provinces of Duhok and Nineveh. But following the ISIS attack on Shingal in August 2014, it is unlikely that this will be the case, as many have now formed their own parties.

The KDP has tipped 20 Yezidis in Nineveh province for the upcoming elections.

“We have registered names of 28 people in our area, of which 16 are Yezidi Kurds. There are also Yezidi candidates registered by KDP branches No. 20 and No. 14,” said Jaafar Shingali, the head of the local PDK election headquarters office.

“More than 90 percent of those living in the areas of KDP branch No. 17 are IDPs. We believe most of them will vote for the KDP if the Iraqi government doesn’t cause problems to them and doesn’t force them to return,” he added.

The 47 Yezidi candidates will be running on seven lists: 20 of them in Nineveh province are KDP candidates, 16 are candidates of the Yezidi Democratic Party led by Haider Shasho, 6 are with other Yezidi parties, 2 are with the PUK, and 1 is with the Iraqi Communist Party. The KDP and PUK have each one Yezidi candidate in Duhok province.

Shasho told Rudaw: “This time, we want the Yezidis to go to Baghdad and defend themselves by themselves there. That is why we have submitted a list of 16 Yezidi people to the commission.”

Shasho was a member of the PUK's Central Council until April 2017. 

“The situation of Shingal has changed. The parties who had support before August 14, 2014, don’t have this kind of base nowadays,” he added.

Currently, more than 150,000 are living outside Kurdistan. 160,000 Yezidis are eligible to vote Duhok and Nineveh provinces.

“Whatever the parties are doing is for themselves. Instead of finding a way so that we get rid of being IDPs, they are busy getting themselves posts and positions for themselves at our expense,” Ilias Qasim, a displaced Yezidi living in Sharyay near Duhok, told Rudaw.

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