Friday, August 28, 2009

Kirkuk Looks To Be Voting In The 2010 Elections

There was some controversy as to whether Tamim province, home to the disputed city of Kirkuk, would be allowed to participate in the 2010 parliamentary elections. Tamim has still not voted for a new provincial government even though the balloting was held in January 2009 in fourteen of Iraq’s eighteen governorates. One of the big hold ups was over the voter rolls. The four major groups in Kirkuk, the Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, and Christians can not agree on who should be able to register. The Kurds asked that displaced families that had been kicked out by Saddam and since returned should be allowed to vote, while Arabs and Turkmen call them squatters who have been moved in by the Kurdish authorities to gerrymander the demographics of the city in their favor. The dispute has been not resolved. A proposed national census was also supposed to help with the voting lists, but that was indefinitely postponed in mid-August 2009 out of fear that it would create more divisions. Tamim has not held provincial elections as a result.

The Iraqi Election Commission is moving forward with preparations for the parliamentary vote in the province anyway. The Commission said that anyone that had a food ration card by July 15, 2009 would be eligible to register to vote. The centers to do this will be open until September 20, and the election is scheduled for January 16, 2010. The national vote is less controversial in Tamim than the local one, because it will not disturb the delicate and disputed balance of power within the province.

SOURCES

Aswat al-Iraq, “IHEC in Kirkuk stipulates ration card before mid July,” 8/27/09

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

Reuters, “Citing Tensions, Iraq Abandons Census Plans,” 8/16/09

2 comments:

Shadow said...

If Tamim participates in the national elections, couldn't it drastically impact the debate about the province's future? If everyone knows how much support Kurdish parties have in Tamim....

Joel Wing said...

Any vote in Tamim will obviously show what kind of support there is for various political parties. Like I wrote however, the parliamentary vote isn't seen as threatening to the arguing parties in Kirkuk because it won't change the provincial government there. Even though they argue about it, the Kurds control the top positions, and the Arabs and Turkmen control the bureaucracy so while they can't decide on the future, they actually have a rough division of power that they can live within the meantime. If there were a provincial vote that might all change.

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