Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fate Of Kirkuk Elections Still Up In The Air

As part of the 2008 Provincial Election Law, balloting in Tamim province, home of Kirkuk, was postponed until a committee could come up with a power sharing plan, and ideas on how voting should take place there. The committee was supposed to have its work done by the end of March 2009, but that was extended to June. By that time the committee had only done a part of its job, and the issue was referred back to parliament.

With parliamentary elections coming in January 2010, Iraq’s legislature and leaders have now begun discussions about what to do with the province. On July 5, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said that he wanted elections in Tamim before the parliamentary vote. That was supported by members of the United Iraqi Alliance and the National Dialogue Front a few days later who proposed a bill that would divide the provincial council into thirds between the Kurds, Arabs, and Turkmen, an idea that has been on the table since at least 2008. The Kurdish Alliance and the speaker of parliament Ayad al-Samarraie rejected the idea saying Tamim should follow the 2008 Provincial Election law like the rest of the country. Ideas on voting there have not progressed much further since then, and the draft of the 2009 Parliamentary Elections Law does not include Kirkuk either. Since divisions on the topic run so deep there is little hope for compromise, which could leave the province without new representation indefinitely.

2005 Provincial Election Results In Tamim

Kurdistan Brotherhood 26 seats
Iraqi Turkmen Front 8 seats
Iraqi Republican Group 5 seats
Islamic Turkmen Coalition 1 seat
National Iraq Union 1 seat

In A December 2007 deal, the Kurds agreed to give 1/3 of the seats on the council to Arabs to end their boycott.


Alsumaria, “Parliamentary parties call to delay demographic census in Kirkuk,” 7/13/09

Aswat al-Iraq, “Elections draft law completed without agreeing on Kirkuk – MP,” 7/15/09
- “Lawmakers demand law on Kirkuk elections,” 7/8/09

International Crisis Group, “Iraq and the Kurds: Trouble Along the Trigger Line,” 7/8/09

Knights, Michael and McCarthy, Eamon, “Provincial Politics in Iraq: Fragmentation or New Awakening?” Washington Institute for Near East Policy, April 2008

Paley, Amit, “Iraqi Urges Refugees To Stay Put,” Washington Post, 12/5/07

Reuters, “Al-Maliki Wants Kirkuk Poll Before Iraq Vote,” 7/5/09

Al-Sabaah, “President: fair posts’ distribution in Kirkuk,” 2/4/08

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