Kirkuk is again the leading issue in Iraq’s parliament as it discusses a new election law. Parliamentarians have agreed upon all the major points in the bill except for voting in Tamim province, the home of Kirkuk. The Kurdish Alliance is pushing for Tamim to vote as a regular governorate. Others, like the Iraqi Islamic Party, are suggesting creating quotas for the four major groups in Tamim, the Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, and Christians. There are other factions who are calling for a delay in voting in Kirkuk altogether.
In July 2008 when parliament was discussing the 2009 provincial vote, Kirkuk led to a walkout and veto of the original election law. The 2009 bill called for a delay in balloting in Tamim as a power sharing agreement was implemented. The Kurdish bloc walked out over it, and eventually President Jalal Talabani of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council vetoed it. The final version of law also postponed voting in Tamim until a special committee could come up with a deal between the major groups in the province. The committee did nothing, and provincial voting has never happened there yet.
National elections are much more important, so it’s unlikely that Kirkuk will hold up the vote. If parliament can’t pass a new bill by October 15, 2009, Iraq will simply revert to the old 2005 law. The major difference is that the proposed legislation includes an open list that allows voters to pick either lists or individual candidates, while the old one is a closed list where the public can only vote for lists, and the parties pick the politicians.
Alsumaria, “Kurds call not to adjourn elections in Kirkuk,” 9/25/09
Aswat al-Iraq, “Kurdish Alliance rejects proposal to divide the Islamic Party of Kirkuk into four electoral districts,” 9/24/09
- “Kurdish lawmaker attributes hindering elections bill to ‘illegal demands,’” 9/24/09
Iraqi Pres Agency, “Delay adoption of the Law of the Iraqi elections may lead to delayed,” 9/29/09
Salloum, Sa’ad, “election committee head explains changes in new draft law,” Niqash, 9/28/09
Visser, Reidar, “The Elections Law: Who Will Stand Up for Kirkuk?” Iraq and Gulf Analysis, 9/28/09