The Friday local election in Syrian Kurdistan, on December 1, brings the Kurdish enclave to elect a parliament in early 2018, despite the opposition from the central government of Syria. Photo: ANHA
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – General election for city and provincial councils have begun in the Syrian Kurdistan Friday morning, the second stage of elections that will then be followed by parliamentary elections early next year in a move to strengthen the pillars of an autonomous, federal region in the country.
The elections began at 8:00 am local time in the three cantons of Afrin, Euphrates, and Jazira , local media reported.
The local election commission says they have distributed more than 400,000 voting papers.
The Syrian regime does not recognize the elections held on Friday, and has so far decided to not recognize the self-styled Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria, otherwise called Rojava.
Kurdish authorities in Rojava are now in control of about one third of Syria, including some Arab-majority cities such as Raqqa, liberated by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in October. Raqqa is not included in the Friday election.
Representatives from other parts of Kurdistan including from the Kurdistan Region are in Rojava to observe the election. Rojava authorities invited three Kurdish lawmakers from the Kurdish parliament who represent Kurdistan Region’s three largest parties.
Rojava's main opposition, the Kurdistan National Council (ENKS), is boycotting the elections.
Former president of the Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani, negotiated two rounds of talks between Rojava authorities and ENKS, dubbed the Erbil and Duhok agreements. Neither yielded concrete results, however, with both sides accusing the other of violations.
Rojava authorities, whose official name is Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria, are holding three stages of elections. Voters will go to the polls to cast ballots for local councils on December 1, to be followed by a vote in 2018 for the body that will act like the self-autonomous enclave’s parliament.
The first elections, held in September, were at the local commune level.