Kurds in US demand right to vote in Kurdistan Region elections

Kurds in US demand right to vote in Kurdistan Region elections

Members of the Kurdish diaspora in the US are criticizing the Kurdistan Region’s electoral commission for not having found a way for them to participate in the upcoming parliamentary vote, set to take place on Sept. 30.


“Our question for the commission is, 'Why should we not have the right to vote?'” began Omar Shafiq, a Kurd living in the state of Tennessee. “In a city like Nashville, we have 15,000 Kurds. Why can we vote in the Iraqi elections and not in the Kurdistan Region’s?”


International voting centers were set up in the US and other countries for those with Iraqi citizenship to cast ballots for Iraq's national elections in May. This has not been accomplished for the upcoming vote to choose the members of the Kurdistan Region's next parliament.


Shafiq voiced his concerns during an interview with Kurdistan 24 at a small gathering in Nashville’s bustling community known by locals as Little Kurdistan.


Farhad Spindari, also present, said, “We would like to be able to vote and participate in the changes occurring in the Kurdistan Region in whatever way possible.”


In May, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) set the election for Sept. 30, but various attempts to delay it to a later date have been ongoing.


Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, over the past few weeks, has repeatedly stated that in spite of such efforts, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has received no official requests from any party to postpone the election.


On Tuesday, spokesperson for the Gorran (Change) Movement, Shorsh Haji, told reporters his party demands the date be changed, claiming that “the integrity of the list of registered voters is questionable, which could allow for fraud and offers little transparency.”


Also on Tuesday, the Kurdistan Independent High Election and Referendum Commission (IHERC) postponed the date candidates and their parties will be allowed to start campaigning, previously set for Wednesday, to Sept. 11.