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WikiLeaks: 2009-06-07: 09BAGHDAD1486: RRT Erbil: Candidates and Coalitions for Kurdistan Region Parliamentary Elections

by WikiLeaks. 09BAGHDAD1486: June 07, 2009.

Posted: Monday, December 30, 2013 at 08:04 PM UT


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Reference ID Created Classification Origin
09BAGHDAD1486 2009-06-07 08:45 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Baghdad
DE RUEHGB #1486/01 1580845
P 070845Z JUN 09
E.O. 12958: N/A 
This is an Erbil Regional reconstruction Team (RRT) cable. 
1.  (U)  SUMMARY:  In the 2005 KRG parliamentary elections, 
the KDP/PUK coalition sailed to an easy majority and 
effectively controls 80 of 111 seats today.  This year, new 
opposition groups provide secular and Islamic alternatives 
for protest votes.  However, the KDP/PUK is using the power 
of the incumbency -- and then some -- to get the vote out. 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
42 Entities Coalesce into 20 Lists and Five Coalitions 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
2.  (U)  There are currently 20 stand-alone entities (aka 
lists) and five coalitions that have coalesced from the 
original 42 registered political entities.  Seven lists have 
dropped out since registration:  the Kurdistan Conservative 
Democratic Party, the Christian Fraternity Gathering, the 
Independent Toilers Party, the Bet Nahrain Democrat Party 
(Chaldean), Shant Murad Muradian (Armenian), the White 
Independent List and the Patriotic Democratic List (PDL) 
Party.  Some of the drop-outs were due to double registration 
(the groups associated with the now-split Kurdistan Toilers 
party both registered two names).  A representative of the 
Bet Nahrain (Chaldean) party informed the press that with 
four Chaldean parties competing for five seats that it did 
not make sense to have another.  According to press reports, 
the White Independent List head said that he dropped out 
because there were other credible opposition lists. 
The Party Lists 
3.  (U)  The 20 stand-alone entities include one 
Chaldean-Syriac Assyrian list, four Turcomen parties and a 
single Armenian candidate.  These minority lists will be 
competing for the seats set aside for Christians, Armenians 
and Turcomen. 
4.  (U)  The most prominent opposition list is the Change 
List, established by former PUK Deputy Secretary Nawshirwan 
Mustafa.  The Change list includes three candidates with name 
recognition:  Ms. Kwestan Mohammed Abdullah, the former head 
of the PUK "Green Bloc" in the Parliament; IKP member Osman 
Aula Qadir, Kwestan's predecessor as head of the "Green 
Bloc"; and Mohamed Tawfiq Rahim, a former PUK Politburo 
5.  (SBU)  The Hewa list is believed to have members who are 
sympathetic to the PKK, according to the Turkish Consul in 
Mosul.  RRT contacts have confirmed that Hewa is actually a 
subgroup of the Kurdistan Democratic Solution Party (PCDK) 
which has registered under another name because of the ban on 
PCDK participation.  The PCDK political party was outlawed by 
a memorandum of understanding between the GOI and Turkey, and 
the KRG has signed this memorandum as well.  The registered 
head of the Hewa party is Najiba Omer.  This week, however, 
the Hewa party was also banned by IHEC Baghdad officials. 
The GOI Minister of State for National Security wrote a 
letter to IHEC to substantiate the ban.  The Hewa party has 
countered with an official complaint made to the newly-formed 
special court for elections in Kurdistan that will adjudicate 
The Coalitions 
6.  (U)  The five coalitions represent: 
-- The Islamic groups:  The Service and Reform List comprise 
the Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIK), the Kurdistan Islamic 
Union (KIU), the Social Democratic Party of Kurdistan and 
Future (which is the Qadir Aziz wing of the Kurdistan Toilers 
party.)  In 2005 the KIU was a member of the KDP/PUK 
coalition; the KIK ran independently. 
-- The Autonomy list of Chaldean Syriac Assyrians -- which 
Q-- The Autonomy list of Chaldean Syriac Assyrians -- which 
includes the Chaldean Assyrian Democratic list and the 
Assyrian National Party. 
-- Mini-parties:  The Freedom and Social Justice coalition 
includes the Kurdistan Toilers Party (the break-away wing, 
considered to be aligned to the KDP), the Democratic Movement 
for the People of Kurdistan, the Communist Party of 
Kurdistani Iraq, the Democratic Movement of Kurdistan, and 
the Kurdistan Independent Labor Party. 
BAGHDAD 00001486  002 OF 003 
-- The Governing Coalition:  The simply named "Kurdistan 
List" comprising the PUK and the KDP. 
-- The Chaldean United list:  Includes the Chaldean 
Democratic Union Party and the Chaldean National Council. 
What is New in 2009? 
7.  (SBU)  In the 2005 elections, a multitude of "mini 
parties" also ran, as well as parties associated with 
religious and ethnic minorities.  Some were aligned with the 
KDP/PUK coalition; others ran for the seats designated for 
minorities.  Those that ran as part of the coalition were 
given one or two seats by the ruling coalition.  What is 
distinctive about this year's race is that the KDP/PUK 
coalition does not include any of these parties, and 
therefore all of the coalition seats will be dedicated solely 
to the PUK and KDP.  The mini-parties will have a much harder 
time under these circumstances (although most of these were 
considered to be KDP or PUK "proxy parties" to begin with). 
--------------------------------------------- ------------- 
Toilers Toil On In a Bitter Dispute Over Who Owns the Name 
--------------------------------------------- ------------- 
8.  (SBU)  The Toilers mini-party has been split, with one 
group holding on to the name, while the other group, which 
includes the Secretary General Qadir Aziz, took the 
membership base.  According to IHEC regulations, when a party 
divides, the group that includes the party leader should be 
able to retain the original name.  In the case of the 
Toilers, the KRG and KR Ministry of Interior intervened, and 
decided that the spin-off group would be permitted to retain 
the party's name.  This oddity is most likely because of KDP 
pressure to split the party in an effort to subvert the 
Toilers' efforts to join the KIU/KIK coalition. 
The Presidential Parties 
9.  (U)  There are five candidates registered in the KRG 
Presidential Race:  Dr. Kamal Mamand Rasul Mirawdaly (a 
Kurdish author, from the Raniyah district in Sulaimaniyah); 
Halo Ibrahim Ahmed Fatah (brother of Hero Jalal Talabani); 
Masood Mustafa Barzany (current Kurdistan President); Hussein 
Garmiyani; Ahmed Muhamed Rasul Nabi (a businessman in Erbil, 
colloquially called Safeen Sheikh Muhammed).  A sixth 
candidate, Ahmed Kurda, withdrew his candidacy on May 27. 
Another candidate, university professor Kamal Saeed Qader, a 
university professor, was disqualified for not having legal 
residency in the Kurdistan Region. 
10.  (SBU)  Although the campaign season has not officially 
started, writer and educator Dr. Kamal Mirawdaly told RRT 
staff that the two-party, two-family system in the KRG had 
created a stranglehold on the people, and has caused them to 
regress into a tribal mentality.  He hopes to counteract this 
trend by passing the KRG constitution in his first three 
months as President, and creating a stronger parliament with 
real legislative powers.  Businessman Safeen Sheikh Muhammed, 
reportedly an independent candidate not affiliated with any 
political entity, stated:  "We are a group of businessmen in 
Kurdistan.  I believe in running for the post of Kurdistan 
Region President as an independent candidate." 
11.  (SBU)  In the 2005 elections the KDP/PUK sailed to an 
easy majority with 80 seats in the 111-seat body (the 
"minority quotas" are nominally independent, but in reality 
vote with the coalition.)  Due to dissatisfaction with the 
KDP/PUK, this year we expect that opposition lists, 
coalitions and mini-parties may pick up as many as 30 seats. 
In 2005, the Islamic parties were the only alternative to the 
QIn 2005, the Islamic parties were the only alternative to the 
KDP/PUK.  The appearance of a secular alternative may well 
draw away votes to the Change party from the Islamic parties 
-- whether this will be zero-sum or whether the Change group 
will tap into a new well of discontented voters remains to be 
12.  (SBU)  Meanwhile, reports from the independent media 
indicate that the PUK is pulling out all the stops to 
counteract popular support for the Change list through the 
power of patronage and the party's dominance over local 
government in PUK-controlled Sulaimaniyah.  These reports are 
substantiated by anecdotal reports from RRT contacts in 
Sulaimaniyah.  In KDP territory, the government is also using 
BAGHDAD 00001486  003 OF 003 
the power of the incumbency (a contact reported that a visit 
to the Ministry of the Interior found MoI employees busily 
organizing KDP election material in the building.) 
13.  (SBU)  RRT Team Leader has started a series of press/TV 
interviews to emphasize the importance of meeting 
internationally-recognized standards for the upcoming 
elections, in particular, the ability of candidates and 
voters to vote their conscience and campaign free from 
intimidation and harassment. 


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