Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change
Election Day in Iraqi Kurdistan
By Kamaran Najm
Voters queue at a polling station in the city of Sulaimaniyah to elect a new parliament and president for Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
All voters were frisked for weapons. The region has avoided much of the violence afflicting the rest of Iraq. However, political tensions soared in the run-up to the July 25 vote.
Voters look for their names on lists posted outside the polling station. Some 2.5 people were eligible to vote in the three provinces of northern Iraq that make up Kurdistan.
Women queue separately from men outside the polling station. Though the region’s laws honour gender equality, most women perform domestic roles and very few hold public office.
An infirm woman is helped into the polling station.
Officials were at hand to make sure voting procedures were followed.
A young man casts his ballot. Major political blocs used the media to woo young voters, who make up the majority of Kurdistan&amp;amp;rsquo;s electorate.
Election day itself passed peacefully. Since then, however, some party offices have been attacked. Complaints of widespread violations are being investigated.
Voting was overseen by monitors from independent groups and the big political blocs. Opposition lists have since complained that their monitors were impeded in some areas.
Several people regarded voting as a patriotic duty and went to the polls wearing national costume. Their leaders are hammering out the shape of the next government, after early election results showed a reduced majority for the dominant parties.
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