Kurdish opposition gains in northern Iraqi vote
Iraqi authorities will release results later this week from weekend elections in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.
A joint list between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the party of regional president Massud Barzani, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the party of Iraqi President Jala Talabani, reportedly won 60 percent of the ballots. The two parties have dominated Kurdish politics for nearly half a century. If confirmed, the results would give the KDP-PUK coalition approximately 55 seats in the 111-seat parliament, down from 78 seats.
A new opposition movement, Goran (Change), said it had won more than a quarter of the seats in the Kurdish parliament. A senior Goran official told AFP his party won 28 seats, making Goran the first serious opposition to the KDP-PUK list.
Goran, founded by former PUK leader Nawshirwan Mustafa, had campaigned on a platform of challenging KDP and PUK’s monopoly on power. But the opposition has raised allegations of voter fraud and irregularities in two Iraqi regions.
“We have evidence of massive fraud in Irbil and Dahuk, and we are contesting the results in those two provinces,” said Mohammed Tawfiq, campaign manager for Goran.
Nearly 80 percent of the region's 2.5 million voters participated in Saturday’s election. Ballots will be transported to Baghdad for an official count with final results to be announced later this week.