(Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region’s Independent High Elections and Referendum Commission (IHERC) on Sunday opened up registration for parties looking to participate in the semi-autonomous region’s upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for Sep. 30.
Parties will be able to register starting on Sunday, May 27, until Wednesday, June 6, Zhiyar Dizayee, the head of the registration office for the IHERC, told Kurdistan 24 on Saturday.
Parties must submit completed forms and pay a 50 million IQD ($42,000) registration fee with the commission. However, minority groups such as Chaldeans, Assyrians, and Turkmen, only need to pay 25 million IQD ($21,000), while the Armenian party’s fee costs 10 million IQD ($8,400).
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on May 8 announced it would hold parliamentary elections for the Kurdistan Region on Sep. 30, less than five months after the Iraqi national elections.
Dizayee mentioned that independent candidates cannot run unless they are able to form a party with no less than three candidates and sign up 500 party members, all legally allowed to vote.
Once the party registration period ends, parties will be able to register coalitions from June 18 to the 20, the Kurdish official added.
The IHERC recently announced they would not use machines to count ballots electronically. The decision follows widespread criticism of electoral fraud during the May 12 national elections in Iraq, especially among Kurdish parties who suspected some political agents had tampered with the machines.
“Manual vote counting is a more trusted method among the parties in the Kurdistan Region. The electronic system used to count ballots in the Iraqi elections worked just fine, but electoral fraud took place,” Nabaz Mustafa, member of the Kurdistan Communist Party, told Kurdistan 24.
“It will be clear on Sep. 30 whether there was fraud in the Iraqi election or not,” Mustafa added, anticipating the number of votes for some parties will be substantially different.