Another election delay expected

Verdict on Kurdistan election law postponed yet again

BAGHDAD — The Federal Court in Baghdad postponed again the session to address a lawsuit challenging several provisions of the Kurdistan Parliament election law, marking the ninth delay in the legal proceedings.

Former Kurdistan Parliament member Ziad Jabar and Amanj Najib Shemun, a former Sulaymaniyah Provincial Council member, filed the lawsuit. They are seeking to annul Articles 1, 9, 15, 22, and 36 of the law, which relate to election districts and the allocation of seats under the 1992 Law No. 1 governing the elections.

The postponement to Feb. 18 highlights the complexities of addressing challenges to the Kurdish region’s election framework. The lawsuit raises concerns about the electoral process and the distribution of parliamentary seats, emphasizing debates over the laws’ fairness and constitutionality.

Jabar’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) advocates for returning to multi-constituency elections to counter low voter turnout in its areas and argues that the current system benefits the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) due to higher turnout in its strongholds. The PUK also challenges the allocation of 11 quota seats to ethnic and religious minorities, claiming they are co-opted by political parties. The PUK filed legal complaints after failing to amend the election law through negotiations in Kurdistan’s parliament, which the federal court dissolved due to election delays.

Officials and plaintiffs were not immediately available for comment on the postponement.

The Federal Court’s decisions are significant for the Kurdistan Region of Iraq’s governance and election dynamics.

Yesterday, electoral commission officials warned that another court postponement would further delay the elections, initially scheduled for October 2022.

Earlier today, the PUK and Gorran issued a joint statement after a meeting, calling for no further election delays. The statement stressed the consensus between the parties that elections should be conducted promptly.

The ongoing court saga continues to hold up the electoral process.