Kurdistan's Election Lists
Campaigning is underway in the Kurdish Region ahead
of elections for the Kurdish regional assembly on
July 25. Twenty four political groups, including
five alliances, have declared their participation in
the election, competing for 111 seats (11 reserved
for ethnic and religious minorities). In total, 507
candidates have registered to compete in the
elections and more than 2.5 million people have
registered to vote.
July 2, 2009
KURDISH ELECTION LISTS
The Kurdistani List is
composed of the two main political parties in the
region: the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) led by
Regional President Massoud Barzani, and the
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) led by Iraqi
President Jalal Talabani.
The head of the Kurdistani list is Dr. Barham Saleh,
a PUK official and the current Iraqi deputy Prime
Minister. There is talk among KDP and PUK officials
that Saleh will be the next regional Prime Minister.
The PUK and KDP have been controlling the Kurdish
Region since 1991, prior to which they were the main
forces of rebellion against the regime of Saddam
The Kurdistan list says it will preserve all the
political, economic and social achievements which
the region has gained since 1991.
The Kurdistan Democratic
Party (KDP): Founded in 1946 under the
leadership of Mullah Mustafa Barzani, father of
"The KDP's intent is that people in Kurdistan should
live with honour, peace, safety, freedom, and
democracy on our Kurdistan soil, our own soil which
belongs to us. This is our national aspiration" says
the party. The KDP says it is working for a strong
Kurdish Regional government and parliament. Although
the KDP believes that an independent state is a
natural right of the Kurdish people, it says it
prefers to remain within a federal, plural and
The KDP says the oil rich city of Kirkuk and other
disputed areas in northern Iraq belong to the
Kurdish Region and should be annexed accordingly.
Although the KDP believes that an independent state
is a natural right of the Kurdish people, it prefers
to remain with a federal Iraq.
Massoud Barzani is the current leader of the KDP;
Fadhil Mirani is the head of KDP politburo;
Nechirvan Barzani is a member of politburo and
regional Prime Minister; Hoshyar Zebari is a member
of politburo and Iraqi Foreign Minister.
The Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan (PUK): Founded in June 1975,
two months after the collapse of the Kurdish
rebellion of 1974-1975.
The PUK proclaims that it struggles for democracy,
freedom and equality and against dictatorship, war,
occupation, as well as national, class and religious
The PUK wants to attain the right of
self-determination for the people of Kurdistan and
says it wants to establish a democratically elected
Kurdistan National Assembly, which would be the
highest power in Kurdistan. The Assembly will be
elected in free,www.ekurd.net
direct, and secret
elections. The Executive authority of Kurdistan will
be elected and dissolved by the Kurdistan National
Assembly. The PUK says it will establish an
independent judiciary, not subordinate to any power
except the law.
The PUK supports a federal region for Iraqi
Kurdistan calls for Kirkuk and other disputed areas
should be returned to the Region. The party
facilitates the return of Kurdish deportees to their
The current Iraqi President, Jalal Talabani, a
former student leader, lawyer, journalist and
resistance leader, has been Secretary General of the
PUK since its founding in 1975. Kosrat Rasul,
the Kurdish Region’s Vice-President is considered
number two in the PUK; and Dr. Barham Saleh, Iraq’s
deputy Prime Minister is number three in the PUK.
The Change List is headed by Nawshirwan Mustafa;
a former PUK party leader who left the party in
December 2006 in protest at the lack of internal
The List is considered as one of the main lists in
the upcoming parliamentary elections and there is
expectation that those who are not happy with the
PUK and KDP will vote for the Change list.
Most of the leaders of the Change List are former
members of PUK. They say they are working to
separate the government from political parties and
to create a parliament which is not controlled by
the political bureaus of the political parties. They
also want to strengthen an independent,www.ekurd.net
non-corrupt and just
judiciary. The Change List wants to limit political
interference in the regional economy and supports a
more transparent budget.
The List believes that problems between Baghdad and
the Kurdish Region can be solved through dialogue on
the basis of the Iraqi constitution. Regarding the
conflict with Turkey, the Change List says that only
a political solution in Turkey can resolve the
The List supports federalism for the Kurdish region.
Nawshirwan Mustafa heads the Change List. Born in
1944, Mustafa is a prominent Kurdish politician and
academic. He was a co-founder of the PUK and deputy
secretary general until December 2006.
THE SERVICE AND REFORM LIST:
The Service and Reform List is composed of four
political parties: the Kurdistan Islamic Union, the
Islamic Group of Kurdistan, the Kurdistan Socialist
Democratic Party and the Future Party.
The Service and Reform List says it will fight
against corruption in the Kurdish Region and will
give women a real role in regional life.
Kurdistan Islamic Union:
Describes itself as "an Islamic reformative
political party that strives to solve all political,
social, economic and cultural matters of the people
in Kurdistan from an Islamic perspective which can
achieve the rights, general freedom, and social
justice.” The party secretary is Salah al-Din Baha
al-Din. The group is closely tied to the Muslim
Islamic Group of Kurdistan:
Established by Ali Bapir
in May 2001. Bapir is a former member of the Islamic
Movement of Kurdistan.
Bapir says: "Our policy is that we enter into
fraternity and cooperation with all Islamic groups.
We seek such fraternal relations with Islamic
parties and organizations, Islamist figures, and
groups that follow a Salafi tradition or a Sufi or a
scientific tradition. In the Komele Islami, we
believe that the group must be open-minded and seek
fraternity with all those who call or act for Islam.
If we see a mistake, we will try to correct it
through dialogue and by creating a fraternal
Local newspapers in the Kurdish Region say the
Islamic Group of Kurdistan has a strong relationship
Bapir was imprisoned by American forces in July 2003
and released in April 2005. The Americans accused
him of planning attacks on coalition forces,
assisting extremist Islamist group Ansar al Islam
and maintaining relations with Saddam Hussein’s
government and with Iran.
The Kurdistan Socialist
Democratic Party (KSDK): Led by Muhammad
Haji Mahmud, the KSDK is a left-wing nationalist
party. The party has one seat in the Kurdish
Regional Parliament - Mahmud holds the seat.
Aynda (Future) Party:
Led by Qadir Aziz, who until recently was head of
the Kurdistan Toiler Party (KTP). Aziz was forced
out of the party by the KTP central bureau “because
he didn’t commit to the party’s internal system.”
Aziz says the KDP and PUK have failed to return
Kirkuk and other disputed areas to the Kurdish
THE KURDISTAN CONSERVATIVE
The Kurdistan Conservative Party List is led by Zaid
Surchi. The List represents tribal leaders and is
dominated by the Surchi family. In 1996 KDP forces
clashed with fighters from the Surchi family's home
villages, killing Hussein Surchi, Zaid's uncle. The
PUK supported the Conservative Party during the
short-lived conflict. The Surchi tribe is found in
Erbil, Duhok and Mosul.
THE ISLAMIC MOVEMENT OF
The Islamic Movement of Kurdistan List was founded
in 1979 by Shaykh Uthman Abdul-Aziz and several
other Sunni mullahs who were part of the
non-political "Union of Religious Scholars." The
party's main support comes from in and around that
town of Halabja, which was bombed with chemical
weapons by Saddam Hussein. In regions controlled by
the Islamic Movement in Kurdistan, the party has
established its own infrastructure but has not
sought to apply Islamic (Sharia) law. The head of
the Party is Sidiq Abdul Aziz, but the head of the
Islamic Movement of Kurdistan List is Dr. Ahmed
The Islamic Movement of Kurdistan List says Islamic
Law must be the main source for the Kurdish Region’s
constitution. It also calls for greater government
SOCIAL JUSTICE AND FREEDOM
The Social Justice and Freedom List is composed of
six leftist parties: the Kurdistan Communist Party,
the Kurdistan Toilers Party, the Kurdistan
Independent Work Party, the Kurdistan pro-Democratic
Party and the Democratic Movement of Kurdistan
The list demands equal rights for men and women,
promises to solve housing problem and gives priority
to the rights for farmers. The list says it works
for a secular Kurdistan.
INDEPENDENT YOUTH LIST:
The Independent Youth List is headed by Hiwa Abdul-Karim
Aziz (known as Hiwa Fryad Ras), a 30 year old
journalist. The list consists of 10 people, made up
of lawyers, university teachers and journalists who
promise to make the Kurdistan Regional Parliament
more active and give more attention to youth issues.
KURDISTAN REFORM MOVEMENT:
The Kurdistan Reform Movement is headed by Abdul-Musawwar
al-Barzani, a cousin of the incumbent regional and
KDP president Massoud Barzani. Abdul-Musawwar
al-Barzani says he is against corruption and the
list focuses on human rights and rule of law.
The Progression List is headed by Halo Ibrahim
Ahmed, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani’s brother in
law. Halo Ibrahim is also a candidate in the
The Progression List says it will work to improve
the standard of living of the Kurdish people and
that its candidates will resign from parliament
after six months if they do not fulfil their
Ahmed, who has lived in Sweden and Britain, used to
be a PUK member but was dismissed last year for
creating a bloc inside the Union.
THE KURDISTAN DEMOCRATIC
NATIONAL PARTY LIST:
The Kurdistan Democratic National Party List (YNDK)
was founded in 1995 with the aim of creating a
Greater Kurdistan including Kurds and territory from
Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria. YNDK worked closely
with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the late
1990s. Today the party remains hostile towards
Turkish regional policy but has moved away from the
PKK to cooperate with the KDP.
In this election, the party is campaigning to solve
the housing problem and also to work on youth and
women’s issues. Ghafur Makhmuri is the party’s
general-secretary and holds the party’s only seat in
KURDISTAN TOILERS AND
WORKERS PARTY LIST:
The Kurdistan Toilers and Workers Party List
proclaims that it will work to improve justice and
the rule of law in the region. The Party has been
working as an organization for 14 years.
IRAQI CONSTITUTIONAL PARTY:
The Party was founded by Iraqi Interior Minister,
Jowad Bolani, in 2005. Although Bolani officially
stepped down as party leader when he was named
interior minister he retains considerable power.
KURDISTAN BRIGHT FUTURE
The Kurdistan Bright Future List is led by Dr.
Muhammad Saleh Hama Faraj, who lived in exile in the
UK from 1980 to 2008. Dr. Faraj says he works to
separate government from the political parties,
strengthen an independent, non-corrupt and just
judiciary and that if he becomes a member of
parliament he will demand a rewriting of the
The Kurdish Parliament has set aside five seats
for the Turkmen community. Four Turkmen lists are
competing for these seats. (Turkmen only live in
ERBIL TURKEMN LIST:
This list is led by five well-known Turkmen persons
in Erbil: Sherdil Tahsin Arsalan, Ta'fa Rostam Qasab,
Thaura Saleh, Nafeh Rostam and Ahtham Abdul Karim.
The List wants Kirkuk to be part of the Kurdish
region and they are against Turkey's interferes in
TURKMEN REFORM LIST:
This list is led by Abdul Qadir Zangana and its main
goal is to strengthen the political role of the
Turkmen. The list is against Turkish interference.
MOVEMENT IN KURDISTAN: The party is
headed by Karkhi Alti Barmak, who wants to unite all
Turkmen. The list wants Kirkuk to become part of the
Kurdish Region and is against Turkish interference.
INDEPENDENT TURKMEN LIST:
This list is headed by Kanhan Shakir Aziz; the list
says Turkmen are the majority in Kirkuk and that it
should be an independent region.
Five seats have also been set aside for the
Christian community. Four Christian lists are
competing for these seats.
UNIFIED CHALDEAN LIST:
This list is composed of the Chaldean Union Party
and the Chaldean National Council.
CHALDEAN SYRIAC ASSYRIAN
This list is headed by Yunadam Kanna, a member of
the Iraqi Parliament. The list says it works to
employ Christians in the security forces in the
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF
CHALDEAN SYRIAC ASSYRIANS: Headed by
Sarkis Aghajan Mamendo, an Iraqi Assyrian politician
who was appointed Minister for Finance and Economy
in the cabinet of Iraqi Kurdistan on 2006. The List
wants to unite all Christians in Iraq.
The Kurdish parliament has set aside one seat for
the Armenian community. There are about 200 Armenian
families living in Zakho, near the Turkish border in
Duhok province. Three people are competing for this
seat: Aram Shahine Dawood Bakoyan, Eshkhan Malkon
Sargisyan and Aertex Morses Sargisyan.
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