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Statement of the Political Bureau of the Kurdistan Democratic Party

Dear people of Kurdistan and Iraq,

It is evident that the KDP has long fought for the legitimate rights of the Kurdish people and the advancement of democracy as intertwined objectives. We firmly believe that the democratization of Iraq's governance system is essential for realizing the rightful aspirations of the Kurdish people. Thus, during the initial days of the 1991 spring uprising, President Barzani advocated for free elections as the cornerstone of establishing democratic governance in our region, aiming to showcase the achievements of the Kurdish people and safe guard them.

The fundamental principles of free and fair elections include, at minimum, the enactment of an equitable electoral law ensuring the representation of all segments and communities of the Kurdish populace in parliament, while also facilitating broad citizen participation in voting and candidacy. Furthermore, the supervision and administration of the electoral process by an independent, impartial, expert, and transparent institution at all stages are paramount for ensuring its integrity.

Motivated by our sense of duty and responsibility, we have diligently collaborated with political parties in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq to uphold the constitutional conduct of all elections, particularly the sixth session of the Kurdistan Parliament. Engaging in discussions and consultations with political stakeholders across the region and Iraq, we have sought understanding, compromise, and consensus on matters pertaining to the electoral law.

However, following the referral of the Kurdistan parliamentary elections to the Federal Supreme Court, the Court's decision on February 21, 2024, disregarded the constitutional rights of the Kurdistan Regional Government in electing such a significant institution as parliament. This decision, lacking justification and respect for constitutional principles, is especially in light of the court's ruling on the Kurdistan Parliamentary Election Law, which highlights numerous unconstitutional elements detrimental to the Kurdistan Region. We promptly alerted and informed the public of this development, recognizing it as a blatant and perilous violation of the constitution, aiming to dismantle the democratic fabric of our region and regress Iraq towards a centralized system.

1) The Federal Supreme Court's amendments to key articles of the Kurdistan Parliamentary Election Law, encompassing aspects like electoral constituency determination, seat allocation, supervisory bodies, and electoral appeal resolution, represent a blatant disregard for the constitution's principle of legislative independence. (This action directly contravenes Article 6, 117 and 121 and of the constitution) about the authority of the region, which stipulates that power transitions must adhere to democratic processes and constitutional procedures. Such amendments threaten to distort the very foundation of the democratic system.

2) The elimination of the quota seat allocated for component communities in the Kurdistan Parliamentary Election Law undermines a cornerstone of free and fair elections: the guarantee of equal and equitable opportunities for all citizens.This action not only violates Articles 49 and 125 of the Constitution and Iraqi Parliamentary and Provincial Council Elections Law but also contradicts Articles 2 and 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Iraq ratified in 1971. These provisions emphasize the importance of ensuring representation for all communities in elected bodies and their involvement in public affairs.

3) The decision to transfer the responsibility of resolving electoral appeals from the Kurdistan Regional Government's judiciary to a judicial body under the Federal Supreme Judicial Council represents a concerning overreach of judicial authority. This move not only infringes upon the autonomy of the regions but also deviates unjustifiably from the established practice of the Independent High Electoral Commission. Such actions risk undermining the integrity and independence of the judiciary, while also disrupting the standard procedures set forth for electoral oversight.

4) The successive decisions made by the Federal Supreme Court have raised concerns regarding the principle of separation of powers, as the Court has seemingly encroached upon the domains of both the legislative and executive branches. These decisions have endowed the Court with certain powers and privileges not explicitly outlined in the Constitution. One such decision that exemplifies this is the repeal of the Kurdistan Regional Government's Oil and Gas Law No. 22 of 2007, purportedly justified under Article 110 of the constitution, despite the absence of specific provisions regarding oil resources in that article. In contrast, Article 112 of the constitution delineates the management of oil and gas resources, emphasizing a joint responsibility between the federal government and the regions. Moreover, Article 115 underscores the legislative authority of the regions in matters falling within the scope of joint powers, with a provision that grants precedence to regional law in cases of conflict with federal law within these regions. 

5) Beyond the constitutional infringements by the Federal Supreme Court regarding the electoral law, several other troubling actions have cast doubt upon the integrity of the entire electoral process for the sixth session of the Kurdistan Parliament. Issues such as discrepancies in the biometric verification process, resulting in the exclusion of voters due to fingerprint recognition failures, as well as concerns regarding the equitable allocation of seats for Halabja province, have raised serious questions about the fairness and transparency of the electoral procedures.

6) Following the downfall of the previous regime, it became evident that the governance of a multi-ethnic, multi-religious Iraq necessitates inclusive representation and participation from all communities. However, regretfully, policies such as interference, financial deprivation, budget cuts, salary reductions, and selective adherence to the constitution have been employed to undermine the constitutional framework of the Kurdistan Region and establish a governing structure favoring centralization. Despite efforts to rectify these deviations from the constitutional spirit, Baghdad authorities have shown little interest in addressing these issues.

In light of the aforementioned circumstances and the violation of constitutional articles, coupled with the recognition that the current composition of the Federal Supreme Court lacks constitutional legitimacy and consistently infringes upon the constitutional rights of the Kurdistan Region, it has eroded these rights through political and unconstitutional rulings.

To our fellow citizens,

We hold the parties within the state administration coalition accountable for their failure to uphold the constitution and fulfill the obligations outlined in the political and administrative agreements that formed the current Iraqi government under the leadership of Mr. Mohammed Shia Sudani. Without the implementation of these agreements, the continuity of the political process remains in question.

Furthermore, we affirm to Iraqi and international public opinion that despite our confidence and the unwavering support of the Kurdish people in every election since 1992, we remain committed to our role as the primary force in Kurdistan. Our historical responsibility lies in safeguarding the legitimate rights of the Kurdish people and preserving the democratic and federal system of Iraq. We reject any unconstitutional and undemocratic measures, and stand against all violations of the constitution.  We consider it in the interest of our people and country that our party does not endorse  unconstitutional decisions and an imposed system outside the will of people of the Kurdistan Region and its constitutional institutions and not participate in an election that is illegal and unconstitutional and conducted under an imposed system.

Political Bureau Kurdistan Democratic Party 18-3-2024

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The Kurdistan Democratic Party participates in the International Democratic Union Forum held in New Zealand.

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Message from President Barzani on the 44th Anniversary of the Genocide of the Faili Kurds.