Iraqi Federal Court halts Kurdistan parliamentary election preparations

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region — The Iraqi Federal Supreme Court issued a ruling on Tuesday, suspending all actions and preparations by the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) concerning the Kurdistan Region’s parliamentary elections until the lawsuit filed by the Region’s Prime Minister, Masrour Barzani, is resolved.

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani lodged a lawsuit against the head of the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) on Monday, filing a complaint with the Iraqi Federal Court. The complaint alleges that the IHEC violated the constitution in relation to the parliamentary election in the Region.

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Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, represented by his lawyer Ayad Kakayi, urged the court to deem the distribution of parliamentary seats across the Kurdistan Region’s four constituencies as ‘unconstitutional.’ He argued that this distribution violates constitutional principles and criticized the elimination of minority quota seats.

As per the IHEC’s directive, the Kurdistan Region Parliament comprises 100 seats have been distributed across four electoral constituencies: Erbil province: 34 seats, Sulaimani province: 38 seats, Duhok province: 25 seats, and Halabja province: three seats.

The Court’s recent ruling was issued following a visit by Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani to Baghdad and Iran. During his visit, it was anticipated that he would request top Iraqi and Iranian officials to either delay the Kurdistan election or reverse the IHEC’s decision to remove quota seats reserved for minorities in the Kurdistan parliament.

With the suspension of the IHEC’s preparations for the elections, the likelihood of the elections taking place on June 10 has significantly diminished. This development aligns with the longstanding lobbying efforts of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

After the ruling, certain Kurdish parties like the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the recently established Barai Gal party objected to the decision, cautioning against potential threats to the Region’s entity.

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