Prime Minister Haidar Abadi is in full campaign mode touring the country recently visiting Ninewa, Muthanna, Diwaniya, Anbar and Maysan. His latest stop was Sulaymaniya. Abadi’s Nasr list is running 25 candidates in Kurdistan including 10 in Sulaymaniya. That has apparently raised the ire of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). On April 24, it was reported that three Nasr candidates were arrested by the Asayesh. This blatant intimidation tactic was a warning that the Barzani clan did not appreciate the premier’s move into their territory.
Abadi is attempting to change his image from a Shiite politician to a nationalist one in this year’s election. Part of that is running candidates in all 18 Iraqi provinces including Kurdistan. He has also used the Kurds as a foil punishing them for the independence referendum by moving federal forces into Kirkuk and other disputed territories. That was widely popular in Arab Iraq. He has since tried to re-integrated Kurdistan into the federal system by sending money to pay for part of the salaries of the region’s public employees. The KDP has been the biggest loser in this process as it was at the forefront of pushing the independence vote that blew up in its face, and now has to take Baghdad’s money because of the poor state of Kurdistan’s budget. Detaining the Nasr candidates was a bit of pushback from its difficult position.
Al Aalem, “Reliable sources: Dohuk is holding Nasr candidates … And Abadi holds Irbil responsible and demands immediate investigation,” 4/24/18
Al Masalah, “Abadi arrives in Sulaymaniya,” 4/25/18