Summary of reported violations – issue 3 dated 20th July 2009
Support Committee for Free Elections in Kurdistan
Summary of reported violations – issue 3 dated 20th July 2009
The Support Committee for Free Elections in Kurdistan monitor the election process by recording reported violation. This is the third summary of recorded violation by SCFEK.
Summary of the violations and SCFEK recommendations
The PUK and KDP appearing as Kurdistani List in the election have been accused of tearing and taking off promotion literature of their opponents from all public places.
The SCFEK observed that the role of the interior ministry is missing during the election to protect civilian population and maintain order. Instead, party officials make irresponsible and inflammable statements which SCFEK fears to be translated to bloodied conflict between supporters of other lists and Kurdistani List.
The SCFEK observed from media outlets and amateur video footages that civilians appeared with bear gun in their possession. The SCFEK reminds all political entities and the civilian populations that only the internal security services in their delegated uniforms are in charge of keeping order. No other groups should have arms in their control.
The SCFEK observed that on the 14th July 2009, in Tooymalik neighbourhood of Sulaimaini, the Peshmerga Minister, equivalent to defence minister, seen allegedly to keep order among a crowd of people. The SCFEK remind all parties involved in the election that it is not for the defence minister to be involved in keeping order; it is thoroughly the duty and the mandate of the interior minister.
The SCFEK observed that party officials spoke in flammable statements which may be translated to declaration of physical conflict. During the period of this report, Sadi Ahmed Pir, politburo member of PUK, Mala Bakhtyar, politburo member of PUK, Muhammdi Mala Qadir, politburo member of KDP, made irresponsible statements. None of them have official positions in the KRG and they are not civil servants.
Pira, in an interview stated, “We [KDP and PUK] respond to violence with violence.” Mohammedi Mala Qadir made a number of highly flammable statements. He stated that if the KDP wishes, they can dump the independent mayor of Barzan (who is a candidate of KRM #56) into a river. Qadir responding to the allegation that leaders of the KRM are threatened by the KDP. Mala Bakhtyar’s website Cawder (read as Chawde’r), who is the member of politburo of PUK, on a high number of occasions depicted Nawshirwan Mustafa, the head of Gorran List, as a “terrorist”, by amalgamating photographs of Mustafa with fundamental Islamic group of Jund al-Islam and Ansar al-Islam. The SCFEK recommends that members of the political groups must not promote violence or even claim that they are responsible for keeping civil order. They must always refer back to the interior ministry. The SCFEK observe that the interior ministry is not proactive during this election campaign, but in reality should have been extremely vigorous via media outlets and on the streets of Kurdistan.
The SCFEK observes that the population fear that the two main ruling political groups, PUK and KDP, may not accept the outcome of the election should it not be to their expectation. The SCFEK recommends that the Kurdistan Regional Government authority and the two ruling political groups must reassure people and the international community that they wholeheartedly accept and support the outcomes of the elections of the 25th July 2009 of both the election for the 111 seats of the Kurdistan Parliament and that of the presidential election. This may be the only way to create a safe and peaceful environment for the elections.
The SCFEK observes that the Kurdistani List has no transparency in financing their own election campaign and spending millions of dollars which may be funded by public. They have spent huge sums of cash on buying singers to perform for them. A Kurdish singer reported that he had been offered 200,000 US dollars to sing for the Kurdistani List in their public promotions. The SCFEK recommends that political entities, in particular the two ruling ones, to declare source of their funds for their campaign and the KRG needs to keep monitor on the alleged use of public funds.
The SCFEK observes that the PUK and KDP have used their influence on the governing bodies to side step rules on the location of election material and draped governmental offices and even mosques with their banners and posters. Not content on having a free hand on posting their election material, members of the Kurdistani List have also been found destroying the banners and posters of their competitors. The SCFEK urges the PUK and KDP and the KRG authorities to respect a fair and free election while the safety and the security of the population should not be compromised.
The SCFEK observe that during KDP and PUK visits to towns and villages, governmental agencies being closed for days at a time to make sure that their staff can be pressurised to vote for Kurdistani List. The SCFEK recommends that the public time must not be used for election campaigns and civil servants must not be pressurised to vote one way or another. People must have free choice of who to vote for.
The SCFEK observe that the KDP and PUK own main influential media outlets and have unlimited access to use, for example. KurdSat, KurdistanTV, ZagrosTV, GalikurdistanTV and all other TV stations, which are allegedly, funded from public fund to broadcast their propaganda for Kurdistani List. No other campaigners have been seen on any of these stations. On the contrary, the language of their media is very rough.
The SCFEK observe Kurdistani List has resorted to campaigning of buying of votes. Their own political party controlled media regularly boasts of this money for vote campaign. This started with Dr Barham Salih’s “own cash” of 800,000 US dollars to Sulaimaini’s Artistic Association and includes cash paid by Jalal Talabani, Iraq’s President, to divergent groups ranging from 5,000 dollars to the leaders of the regions Kakai religious group to 50,000 Iraqi dinars to the regions “religious teachers”. The SCFEK urge to stop cash-for-vote campaign by all political entities, in particular the Kurdistani List.
The SCFEK has observed in a co-ordinated campaign of intimidation and coercion, hundreds of members of the PUK and KDP have been brought up in front of ad hoc committees and questioned regarding their allegiance to any party member suspected of favouring the other contesting political entities, in particular Goran List. They are then stripped of their salary. The SCFEK recommends that voters must not be intimidated and their free vote must be respected.
Specific violations reported
1. Kurdistani List’s accusation of others
8th July 2009: Sa’adi Ahmed Pira, High ranking member of PUK, In presence of Masrur Barzani, Son of Massuod Barzani and head of KDP secret police, accused the list of reform and service, the four party group as a fifth column in a public meeting in Amadia town, on 8/7/2009.
Source: Lvin: http://lvinpress.com/Direje.aspx?Jimare=275
2. Taking public time and forcibly assembling civil servants
On 18th July 2009, Iraqi president assembled healthcare employees unwillingly and at time of official working hours to tell them to vote for Kurdistani list.
Source: Kurdistan TV, PUK TV satellite station, 18 July 2009
3. Incite mosque attendances to vote for Kurdistani List
On 18th July 2009, in town of Shaqlawa, Mohammedi Mala Qadir, a member of the KDP politburo, assembled religious leaders and demanding them to incite attendants of mosques to vote for Kurdistani List
Source: Zagros TV
4. Poll’s result accuse Kurdistani List of violations
According to a poll carried out on Hawlati website, Kurdistani List was accused of most of the violations during the elections. The question asked was: "Who to blame for all the violence during the election campaign?" 3762 people participated in the poll. About 74% of the participants accused the Kurdistani List while 21% accused Goran List, and about 5% percent believe civilians are responsible for all the violence.
5. 179 complaints of electoral violations in Kurdistan IHEC
14th July 2009: The Head of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) stated that it received 179 complaints regarding electoral violations in Kurdistan. “The IHEC continued to investigate complaints in the electoral campaigns,” Hamdiya al-Husseini told Aswat al-Iraq news agency, noting that these violations happened in Sulaimaini.
Source: Aswat al-Iraq, 14 July 2009, http://en.aswataliraq.info/?p=116094
6. Posters and Banner of Goran List destroyed by KDP in Erbil
19th July 2009: A complaint against Kurdistani List for destroying and removing posters and banners of Goran List has been made to High Commission of Election in Erbil. They claim that members of KDP Cadre and Assayish wearing civilian clothes are responsible for that action. KNN Television has shown written and visual evidence about the above incident which took place in Erbil.
Source: Sbeiy, 19 July 2009, http://www.sbeiy.com/ku/newsdetail.aspx?id=18799&cat=1
7. KDP Pays $100 to Observers to spy on people not voting
19th July 2009: The KDP branch 2 pays $100 to Block Manger Observers who monitors and spy on people who are not voting. Block mangers are in charge to watch 150 Houses in each neighbourhood. Each one has about 15-20 staff members, this depends on how each neighbourhood is divided (heavy or light populated neighbourhood). KDP’s Operation room of branch 2 will be informed accordingly.
Source: Hawlati, 19 July 2009, http://hawlati.info/NewsDetailN.aspx?id=9991&LinkID=63
8. Talabani distributes pistols in Raniya, not flowers
18th July 2009: A group of youths from Raparin district of Raniya called on people to vote and send a strong message to those who are corrupt and also criticised the recent visit by Jalal Talabani to their region for election campaign and gave out hundreds of thousands of dollars and pistols to his supporters.
The group state that Jalal Talabani should have visited the grave of those were killed on the first days of Raparin (Kurdish uprising) of 1991 in Raniya as well laying a bouquet of flowers in the graveyard of those killed in 1974 Napalm bombing by the Baath authorities.
Source: Sbeiy, 18 July 2009, http://www.sbeiy.com/ku/newsdetail.aspx?id=18764&cat=1&title
9. Kurdistani List abuse of religious groups and vicinity of mosques
18th July 2009: Kurdistani List activists with direct support and contribution from the Imam of Sirajadin Mosque in the town of Sharazoor held a public meeting in the mosque for nearby residents in which they campaigned and asked people to vote for Kurdistani list and Masoud Barzani. Contrary to Electoral High Commission's codes which bans using public places and engaging Government officials in promoting any list or candidate.
Source: KIU website, 18 July 2009, http://www.kurdiu.org/hawal/?pageid=7622
10. Bullets fired on Supporters of Peshkewtin list
18th July 2009: Peshkewtin list reported an attack with bullets on their supporters Friday night, 17th July 2009. A passing four by four car has fired bullets at two party activists of Peshkewtin list while they were engaged in putting posters on a wall close to the Zargata street in Sulaimaini, the incident has been reported to the Independent High Electoral Commission.
Source: Awene, 18 July 2009, http://www.awene.com/Direje.aspx?Babet=Hewal&Jimare=4340
11. Supporters of KRM #56 detained and forced to sign concession
19th July 2009: Two supporters of the Kurdistan Reform Movement List detained incommunicado for almost two week by KDP for their alleged support of KRM List #56. After two weeks of detention, the KDP brought them to the Soran District Prison of Erbil, where they were forced to sign a concession not to support any other political entity except that of PUK and KDP. KurdishMedia.com learnt from informed sources in the region.
Musa Ahmed Karim Khan and Abdullah Ibrahim Khalil were arrested by the Special Brigade of the KDP, known as Liway Taybet in the town of Soran, in early July, for their alleged association with Kurdistan Reform Movement or KRM led by Abdulmusawar Barzani.
Mr Ahmed has 7 children and was a driver between Diyane and Akre and Abdulla Ibrahim Khalil is the owner of a bookshop. They were both detained incommunicado.
The person in Liway Taybet who arrested them is known as Abdullah Rassul.
Source: KurdishMedia.com, 19 July 2009, http://www.kurdmedia.com/article.aspx?id=15888
Source: KurdishMedia.com, 09 July 2009, http://hawlati.info/NewsDetailN.aspx?id=9820&LinkID=63
12. Three people detained by KDP in unknown location incommunicado
19th August 2009: Three people from Barzani clan have been detained on 8th May 2009 by the KDP security services Parastin and taken to unknown location incommunicado. Khoshevi Hasso Muhamad Sheikhsidi and his two sons Morad and Zubair have been arrested since the 8th May 2009 by KDP led by Massoud Barzani, and their whereabouts are still unknown.
The three men allegedly were accused of having relations with the Kurdistan Reform Movement #56, which is initiated by Dr Abdulmusawar Barzani, a cousin of Massoud Barzani.
Source: KurdishMedia.com, 19 July 2009, http://www.kurdmedia.com/article.aspx?id=15889
Source: KurdishMedia.com, 17 May 2009, http://www.kurdmedia.com/article.aspx?id=15716
13. Weekly Barzan closed down by KRG/KDP
14th July 2009: The Kurdish weekly Barzan was closed down by the KRG’s decision. The timing of the closure, just over a week before the elections, is significant. It is believed that its closure is related to its critical views of the two ruling political groups, PUK and KDP. It is also understood that its closure may be related to the interviews with the spokespersons of Goran list and presidential candidate Halo Ibrahim Ahmed.
Source: Awene, 14 July 2009, http://www.awene.com/Direje.aspx?Babet=Hewal&Jimare=4309
14. Presidential candidate: Talabani acting as Barzani’s campaign manager
12th July 2009: Dr Kamal Mirawdeli, a candidate for the president of Kurdistan, accused Jalal Talabani, of acting as Massoud Barzani’s campaign manager. Dr Mirawdeli accused the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) of being biased towards the two ruling political groups. Mirawdeli. Also Arabic media outlets reported that Jalal Talabani uses his position to campaign for his Kurdistani List. This has been seen as a violation of the elections law.
Dr Kamal Mirawdeli told independent Awene newspaper there is no equal opportunity in utilising the media outlets to campaign for the elections, “Media all over the world is similar to oxygen for humans for any campaign. When one has not media outlets, in particular TV, one cannot deliver one’s message to the voters.” Mirawdeli further stated that none of the TV channels were prepared to offer him just five minutes airtime despite that the fact that he was willing to pay for it.
Source: Awene, 11 July 2009: http://www.awene.com/Direje.aspx?Babet=Babet&Cor=Chawpekewtin&jimare=831
Source: Aswat al-raq News summery, http://en.aswataliraq.info/?p=116058
15. KRM fears other lists are undermined by IHEC
12th July 2009: Dr. Abdulmusawar Barzani, the president of Kurdistan Reform Movement List, fears that the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) undermines other lists in favour of the two main ruling political groups, PUK and KDP. Dr Barzani gave an example when the IHEC claimed that they relied on a telephone SMS to reject an offer to broadcast on Newroz state TV. Dr Barzani stated that his list has no awareness of such as communication with IHEC and stated that SMS is a strange medium, on which IHEC relies.
Dr. Barzani of KRM stated that there are political entities with nearly no financial assistance to campaign for the parliamentary election, which is also the case for the KRM.
Dr. Barzani further elaborated: “Nevertheless, Mr. Zaradasht, a member of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), who supposed to be neutral, did not contact our list, when the delegated date came for our list to promote its program on Newroz TV.” “When he was asked why he did not inform the KRM List to take up the time given to them on Newroz TV, Mr. Zaradasht, of the IHEC, replied to Dr Barzani, that he was informed via SMS by Dr. Barzani that his list did not wish to take the opportunity Newroz TV,” Dr Barzani told KurdishMedia.com.
Dr. Barzani told KurdishMedia.com that neither he nor anyone else in his list sent any SMS to IHEC. “SMS is a strange communication method to reject such an important opportunity for our list. This is despite that the IHEC has our full contact details.” Dr Barzani, added that they have not received a satisfactory explanation form Mr. Zaradasht or any one else in the IHEC.
Source: KurdishMedia.com, 12 July 2009: http://www.kurdmedia.com/article.aspx?id=15874
16. Member of KDP politburo: If desired, KDP will dump the mayor of Barzan into the river
9th July 2009: Mohammed Mullah Qadir, a member of the KDP politburo, denied the KDP’s threats against Dr Abdulmuswar Barzani, the president of KRM List. Mullah Qadir stated, “Seyda Abdulsalsm Barzani, the brother of Dr Barzani, is the mayor of Barzan municipality, who was elected, and his home is still there.” “We [KDP] have not threatened him; if we wish, we can just dump him into the river.”
In 2005, Abdulsalam Barzani, won a sweeping majority against a KDP candidate for the town mayor office. Mr. Abdulsalam and Dr. Barzani are the sons of Sheikh Sulaimn Barzani. They are the second-cousins of President Massoud Barzani. Dr. Barzani obtained his PhD in Europe and currently teaches at the University of Sulaimaini.
Cawder, 09 July 2009: http://www.cawder.org/yeke.php?besh=Nusraw&perrge=nusraw&nujimare=13209
KurdishMedia.com, 12 July 2009: http://www.kurdmedia.com/article.aspx?id=15874
17. After 12:00 pm, KDP have taken down posters of Gorran and Service and Reform lists
15th July 2009: KDP authorities have taken down from the walls all posters of Goran and Service and Reform lists in the streets of Erbil, the regional capital of Kurdistan. However, when it gets darker most of the election posters of the other contestant lists are removed and ripped up also.
Source: Hawlati, 15 July 2009, http://hawlati.info/NewsDetailN.aspx?id=9927&LinkID=63
18. Kurdistani List uses public resource
Council vehicles and apparatus are pictured by observers covered with election campaign banners and literatures of Kurdistani List in Berda Rash, area of the regional capital Erbil. The link shows a picture of a disposal vehicle covered with a banner of Kurdistani List.
Source: KIU website, 16 July 2009, http://www.kurdiu.org/hawal/?pageid=7536
19. Posters of Kurdisani List put safety of people at real risk
The Kurdistan Islamic Union website provides extensive evidence of violations by Kurdistani List. Over 20 pictures show that the Kurdistani List’s promotion literature has been put up in places that put the safety and security of the population at real risk. Road and motorway crucial signs are covered up with huge posters of Kurdistani List, while the photographs show that the banners of other lists are burnt, torn apart and painted over. Photographs of all actions are attached can be seen in this link.
Source: KIU website, http://www.kurdiu.org/pages.php?pageid=65
Recommendations of the Support Committee for Free Elections in Kurdistan for the elections:
• The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) of Iraq and political entities to inform the public of the rules and the laws of the election through media outlets and public meetings.
• All parties involved in the election to advice their supporters by all possible means to stay calm and respect their opponents differing views and opinions.
• The security services to remain professional in keeping the peace and protecting the public. We do value the professionalism of these forces in performing their duties so far in an honorable manner.
• The ruling parties to respect a fair and independent election without any interferences and not to use public funds to influence the voters and not penalise people for not supporting them.
• SCFEK urges the contesting political entities and candidates for the presidency to take part in open discussions and public debate through media outlets to improve the electorate's understanding of their election programmes.
• All media outlets to be open to all contestants equally and provide equitable shares of time and space to them.
• All the political entities to inform their supporters to respect public civil liberties by not infringing people’s liberties, honouring public safety, not acting in a dangerous manner while using public roads. The three other points.
• A proper and transparent mechanism in encouraging and appointing NGO personnel as election observers
• Equitable use of all public media outlets such as Nawroz TV by all contesting parties and individuals to enhance public education and information.
• Prohibit the use of violent, uncivilised, inflammatory or defamatory language such as "heresy", "treason”, "public enemy" and similar words.
The full list of competing entities in the Kurdistan Election with their electoral numbers:
Information about Kurdistan election for parliament: 567 candidates are organised in 24 political entities, including 5 alliances, contesting for 111 seats of the Kurdistan parliament, of which 11 seats have been reserved for the ethno-religious groups.
• Kurdistani List #54, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and Kurdistan Democratic Party, Dr. Barham Ahmed Salih
• Service and Reform List, #59, Kurdistan Islamic Union, Islamic Group in Kurdistan, Kurdistan Socialist Party and Kurdistan Toilers Party (Future), Salahadin Muhammed Bahadeen
• Change List #57, former PUK officials and Independent intellectuals, Newshirwan Mustafa Amin
• Freedom and social justice #55, Kurdistan Communist Party, Kurdistan pro-Democratic Movement, Kurdistan Independent Work Party and Kurdistan Toilers Party, Haja Sulaiman
• The Kurdistan Conservative Party List #61, Kurdistan Conservative Party, Ziad Surchy
• Progression List #62, Mainly Ex-PUK members, Dr Hallo Ibrahim Ahmed
• Kurdistan Bright Future List #50, DR. Muhammed Salih Hama
• The Islamic Movement of Kurdistan List #58, Islamic movement of Kurdistan, Dr. Ahmed Warte
• Democratic National Union of Kurdistan list #51, Democratic National Union party (YNDK), Ghafoor Makhmoori
• Kurdistan Constitutional Party List #52, Kurdistan Constitutional Party; a branch of the Iraqi Constitutional Part
• Kurdistan Toilers and Workers List #53
• Democratic Movement of Kurdistan People list #56
• Kurdistan Reform Movement list #56, Dr. Abdulmusawar Barzani
• Independent Youth List #60, Young Professionals, Hiwa Abdul-Karim Aziz
11 seats of 111 for ethno-religious groups
• The Kurdish Parliament has set aside five seats for the Turkmen community. Four Turkmen lists are competing for these seats.
• Turkemen Democratic Movement In Kurdistan: # 69, is headed by Karkhi Alti Barmak
• Erbil Turkemn List: # 70 is led by five persons in Erbil: Sherdil Tahsin Arsalan, Ta'fa Rostam Qasab, Thaura Saleh, Nafeh Rostam and Ahtham Abdul Karim.
Support Committee for Free Election in Kurdistan
SCFEK Aims to ensure that the electoral process in Kurdistan is conducted in a free and fair manner, a number of Kurdish individuals with some influential figures in the British politic founded "Support Committee for Free Election in Kurdistan" to participate as International observers in the election. The main aims of the committee are to observe every aspect of the proceedings throughout the election process and communicating any irregularity to the media and local and international related parties.
The committee is an independent, nongovernmental organisation, which does not support or favour any candidate, list or political party. However, the committee's make up reflects the diversity of the Kurdish community and will foster the interest of the Kurdish electorates in the achievement of a democratic election in Kurdistan. The committee will resort to appropriate international norms and standards in its assessment and evaluation of the process.
SCFEK contacts: Email: email@example.com, Tel: 07900534271
Disclaimer: The SCFEK takes no responsibility for the content of the reported violations and has indicated where possible the source in order to respect copyright.