Will The Upcoming Elections Change the Balance of Power in Kurdistan?

By Mohammed Iawa

Iraq’s Kurdish region is trying to recover from a great loss in its political position in the Middle East after holding an independence referendum last September in which the overwhelming outcome was abandoning the results by the Iraqi central government and international coalition.

Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi declared that they fight for a united Iraq, while mobilizing their troops to areas controlled by the Kurds during the war against the Islamic State. This move was considered as a big loss for the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) because their strongest source of income came from the oil fields around the city of Kirkuk. Additionally, all international airports and legal border entrees in the KRG are currently shutdown.

The blame for the region’s failures belongs to the main two parties, the KDP and PUK, since they have ruled the Kurdistan since the establishment of the regional government following the Gulf War in 1991.

However, upcoming elections might bring hope in changing the balance of power. Two previous opposition parties, Goran and the Islamic Group (Komal), have suspended their participation in the current cabinet of the KRG and instead established an interim government to prepare for the upcoming elections. Kurdish leader and New Generation party head Shaswar Qadir  said, “There are big changes coming in 2018 and this will bring Kurds the joy as it will offset the current despicable situation.” According to recent studies in KRG, the two main political parties have lost people’s trust, international support, and the Iraqi central government alliance.

The Coalition for Democracy and Justice (CDJ) of the former Kurdish prime minister Barham Salih said there are over 900,000 fake names in the election list that are making 48 parliament seats, while on the other hand, according to analysts, these are rumors made by some parties for their fear of losing.

The Kurds now hope to experience a neutral clean election monitored by the United Nations and representatives from the central government to prevent corruption. The next coming months shall reveal the new fate of KRG.

Will the Kurds step in to vote for a change or the status quo?

About Mohammed Iawa 1 Article
Mohammed Iawa is a Kurdish-Canadian who works for the bank RBC as an insurance sales representative. He was the head of an NGO organization in Kurdistan called the Ganj Organization.