Friday, July 17, 2009

Iraqis find another blocked road over Kirkuk

Parliament asks UN for advice to legitimize the election in Kirkuk

By Ako Muhammed

President Barzani: “Enough playing with the Kirkuk issue. Let’s find a solution.”

Iraqi Parliament Speaker Ayad al-Samaray on Wednesday called on the United Nations Mission to Iraq (UNMI) to offer its suggestions on the Kirkuk election issue, according to a statement by Parliament.

This came during a meeting between al-Samaray at his office in Baghdad with Sandra Michele, higher advisor at the UNMI in charge of election oversight in Iraq.

“The two sides discussed suggestions by the UN that aim to defuse crises over the election in Kirkuk,” read the statement, noting that Michele ensured “a unique electoral system in all Iraqi provinces.”

As lawmakers reached final stages of drafting a law to arrange federal parliamentary elections expected next January, Parliament fell short in approving the law as it couldn’t decide how the election must take place in the politically unsteady Kirkuk province.

Kurds demand the election in Kirkuk be set parallel to the other Iraqi provinces, while groups of Arabs and Turkmen call for dividing the province into four circles so that the main components in the province can win the same share of results.

“The election must be in one circle in Kirkuk and the representation must be according to electoral outcomes,” said Pala Bawani, a member of the Kurdistan Coalition bloc.

Kurdish lawmaker Sami Atrushi stated that his bloc insists the election in Kirkuk be similar to other provinces. Otherwise, they will demand certain electoral mechanisms be placed in Diala and Mosul, which are mainly Arab inhabited with Kurdish minority.

“If Kirkuk is to be divided into four circles on the basis of 32% for each Kurds, Turkmen, and Arabs, as well as 4% for Chaldean-Assyrians, so then why the election needs to be held?” stated Kurdistan Region President Massoud expressing his total rejection to such a proposal.

“The Arabs of Kirkuk feel that a large number of Kurds have come to Kirkuk, and this has influenced the rate of their representation. Thus, an accurate census is needed to calculate the number of displaced and brought-in people,” said Saleem al-Juburi, spokesman for the Sunni Arab Accord Front bloc in Parliament. He added that only voting in Parliament can terminate this issue as the blocs find difficulty to reach a common agreement.

In a message to Arabs and Turkmen, President Barzani said, “Enough playing with the [Kirkuk] issue. Let’s find a solution for it according to historical and geographical facts, or according to [Iraqi Constitution] Article 140. Occupation, tricks, and supremacy against Kurds is never accepted and will never be possible.”

The Kurdish Globe

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