Kurdistan Region parliamentary elections in spotlight

Iraqi parliament extends term of electoral commission by six months

BAGHDAD — The Iraqi Parliament voted on Wednesday to extend the term of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) by six months to oversee the sixth parliamentary elections in the Kurdistan Region.

The term of the current commission was set to expire on July 7, 2024. Today’s extension ensures that the commission will continue its duties until Jan. 6, 2025.

Karwan Yarwais, a member of the Iraqi Parliament, told 964media, “In today’s session, the parliament voted by a majority to extend the term of the Iraqi Electoral Commission for six months.”

The initially scheduled date for the Kurdistan parliamentary elections is June 10, 2024. However, this date is subject to postponement due to the lack of consensus among political parties and the recommencement of biometric registration by the commission.

It remains uncertain when the elections will be held, but a new date for the elections is expected to be announced. The extension of the electoral commission’s mandate means it can accomodate a later date in the likely case the poll is postponed again.

The Iraqi Electoral Judiciary Council restored five quota parliamentary seats to minorities of the Kurdistan Region this week, according to an official statement released Tuesday. Out of the total 100 seats in the Kurdistan Parliament, five will be reserved for minorities.

In the statement, the Iraqi electoral commission said it has been assigned to allocate five parliamentary seats to Kurdistan minorities. The seats will be distributed based on election constituencies, with two seats each for Erbil and Sulaymaniyah, and one seat for Duhok.

Following the Electoral Judiciary Council decision, the Federal Supreme Court today issued a verdict rejecting the lawsuit filed by Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Masrour Barzani. The court also annulled the injunction regarding the unconstitutionality of Article 2 of the candidate registration system, “due to a decision issued by the Judiciary Council on the same matter,” a statement from the court confirmed.

On May 7, the federal court issued an interim order in response to a complaint by Prime Minister Barzani, halting the implementation of seat distribution across the region’s four governorates.

The order affects Article 2, Section (ii) of the Registration and Approval System for the Kurdistan Regional Parliament Elections No. 7 of 2024. It specifies the distribution of 100 parliamentary seats across electoral districts in the Kurdistan Region as follows: Erbil governorate with 34 seats, Sulaymaniyah with 38 seats, Duhok with 25 seats, and Halabja with 3 seats.