Deputy head of KRG: Who takes part as an independent list in coming elections will pay the price.
London (KurdishMedia.com) 11 April 2009: The deputy Prime Minster of Kurdistan Regional Government, Emad Ahmed, stated that those who take part as a separate lists from that of joined PUK-KDP must pay the price, reported local media.
Ahmed was attending the international book exhibition in Arbil’s regional capital. In a press conference, Ahmed was threatening any party or group who are planning to take part in the next elections for the Kurdistan Parliament. “They must pay the price for standing against PUK-KDP list.”
The PUK and KDP, the two ruling political groups, stand in the election as one list. However, recent threats and intimidations have not retarded others to form their own independent election lists outside the two dominant groups.
Two main lists have already announced outside the traditional political groups. Nawshirwan Mustafa, the former deputy head of PUK is based in Sulemani, who is very popular amongst the people of areas traditionally controlled by the PUK. He is taking part in the election to separate political parties from the Kurdistan Regional Government. In what has been the hard land of KDP, a list is constituted by Dr Abdulmusawar Barzani, who is extremely popular among youths and intellectuals in what has been KDP controlled areas. Dr Barzani is a university lecturer and holding a PhD from a western university. It was confirmed to KurdishMedia.com that there is good cooperation between these two lists that are politically and geographically apart.
The PUK and KDP fear that they can badly lose in the coming elections that is why they started two fold campaign, campaign of threaten-the-voters and cash-for-vote campaign. Recently Massuad Barzani, the president of Kurdistan and the head of KDP, threatened independent lists by saying: We [KDP] have come to power with blood and we only leave with blood. Mala Bakhtyar, the member of the politburo of the PUK, in his recent visit to Khanaqin told the crowd of PUK cadres that anyone who is not voting for PUK-KDP list is not part of the people. In the town of Raniya, near Sulemani, religious leaders were paid handsome amounts of cash to vote for PUK.
Independent lists believe that without international observers in the elections, the PUK and KDP may forge votes. They also fear that their candidates and supports may face persecution and assassination without international protection.
The election in Kurdistan cannot be fair, as the PUK and KDP use the people’s resources for their election campaign. Their campaign has an open budget. The administration and the two main political groups are inseparable. So what is own by the administration is used by PUK and KDP. There is no transparency in government expenditure. Even the Minster of Finance has no idea how the budget is spent.
The PUK and KDP media outlets are funded by the people’s budget. The majority of people are employed by two political groups as civil servants, who fear losing their income if they vote for other lists. In this dilemma independent elections are impossible.