The KRG held provincial elections last week. Iraq has 18 provinces. Three of them are in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government. As of last week 17 of the provinces had voted. Only disputed Kirkuk was prevented from voting. The exit polling for last week’s elections predicted an upset for second place. Early counts indicate that is correct. Kamal Chomani (Foreign Policy) notes:
On September 21, Iraqi Kurdistan held paliamentary elections, which for the first time in 22 years, have fundamentally altered the region’s political landscape. Almost 3 million voters participated in the elections, with a total of 1,129 candidates competing for 111 parliamentary seats. While official results have been delayed by allegations of fraud, what the elections have made abundantly clear is the sweeping dissatisfaction with the Kurdistan Regional Government.
From its emergence in 1991, the Kurdish autonomous region in Iraq has been ruled by an alliance of two parties: the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), led by Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), headed by Iraq’s ailing President Jalal Talabani. This duopoly was broken on September 21, when Talabani’s party appeared to hemmorage votes to the Gorran (Change) Movement, which split from the PUK in 2009. Preliminary results announced by the Independent High Electoral Commission on Sunday in which the KDP got 71,9004 votes, Gorran 44,6095 votes, PUK 33,2386 votes, Islamic Union 17,8681 votes, and Islamic Group 11,3260 votes. Eleven seats are reserved for minorities and religious sects. Gorran’s jump to the second-biggest party in the parliament marks a new era in Kurdish politics.
Isabel Coles and Sonya Hepinstall (Reuters) adds, “With 95 percent of the votes from the September 21 election counted, the KDP had 719,004 votes, Gorran had 446,095 and the PUK was in third place with 323,827. Two Islamic parties placed fourth and fifth, with nearly 300,000 votes between them, followed by more than a dozen smaller groups.”
Here are some Tweets from today on the KRG elections:
KUNA notes United Nations “Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday expressed his concern to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari at the ‘deteriorating’ security situation in Iraq, his press office said in a readout. “
And security continued to deteriorate today. National Iraqi News Agency reports an Abi Saida assassination attempt on Council member Uday al-Ruabaie left one of his bodyguards injured, a Miqdadiya attack left 1 person dead and another injured, a Tikrit suicide bombing left three Iraqi soldiers injured, a Mansuriyya roadside bombing left three police officers injured (they were attempting to dismantle it), a Seleikh sticky bombing claimed the life of 1 college student, retired military Colonel Ali Dulaimi was killed in a Falluja car bombing, 2 Baghdad bombings near a café claimed 1 life and left six people injured, a bombing near Baquba injured three farmers, a Hifriya bombing left four police officers injured, a Hawija roadside bombing left five Iraqi soldiers injured, a Mahlbeh bombing left 4 members of the federal police dead and three more injured, 4 Tarmiya home bombings left 2 people dead and thirteen more injured, a Haswa car bombing left two people injured (one is a police officer), 2 people were kidnapped in Albu-Ajeel village, and dropping back to late last night 1 person was shot dead in Basra (and another person — a barber — was kidnapped), and a Hilla home bombing claimed 2 lives and left five people injured.
Check my math, that’s 16 dead (count suicide bomber) and fifty injured. Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 1049 violent deaths for the month so far and 6,000 violent deaths for the year so far. September is shaping up to be one of the deadliest months in years.
Moving over to the United States, Wednesday’s snapshot noted:
Turning to the United States, tomorrow at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, college professor (at Columbia College Chicago) and former Washington Post reporter Jackie Spinner will be discussing her experiences as a reporter in Iraq and Afghanistan. Spinner is the author of Tell Them I Didn’t Cry: A Young Journalist’s Story of Joy, Loss and Survival in Iraq. She’ll speak at the Ockinga Auditorium, the event kicks off at seven p.m.
Josh Moody (Kearney Hub) reports on the event:
Spinner also illuminated the dangers of being a war correspondent.
“You want to go be famous?” Spinner asked the audience, as she showed a slide of Joao Silva, a New York Times war photographer who lost both legs in Afghanistan after stepping on a landmine.
Spinner said that the motivation of war correspondents is “not to be famous, it’s because we feel called to tell a story.”
The following community sites — plus Antiwar.com, Ms. magazine, Pacifica Evening News, Latino USA, the Guardian, House Veterans Affairs Committee, Chocolate City, Tavis Smiley and Jody Watley — have updated since Friday morning:
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