Christian MPs: Electoral law amendment dispersed our voiceReports 12:48 PM - 2023-03-31
Representatives of the Christian community in the Iraqi parliament reaffirmed their dissent to the third amendment to the provincial electoral law, which was passed despite opposition from several independent representatives and parliamentary blocs.
President Bafel: Parties should not be allowed to determine the communities' fateDuring his meeting with Rayan Al-Kildani, Secretary-General of the Babylon Movement, Bafel Jalal Talabani, President of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), affirmed that "the PUK strongly opposes any attempt to jeopardize the spirit of harmony and coexistence."
"We respect all nationalities and communities, and no political party should be allowed to determine their fate," he said.
The PUK exerted enormous efforts to prevent the violation of minority rightsSozan Mansour, the spokesperson for the PUK faction in the Iraqi parliament, told PUKMEDIA: "The PUK exerted enormous efforts to ensure that the rights of minorities were not violated by law in parliament." "However, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) voted in favor of the law to obtain two of the Christians' quota seats in Nineveh and also gave up Kirkuk."
Mansour stated that the KDP betrayed Iraqi Christians by supporting the third electoral law amendment and obtaining three of their five quota seats, which is the Christians' right.
The Third Amendment to the Electoral Law has considerable flawsThe Third Amendment to the Electoral Law has evoked reactions from Christians who want a single constituency in choosing representatives, individual candidacy without party affiliation, and appointing candidates who received a majority of votes, arguing that doing so will protect both Christians' and minorities' rights.
Independent Christian MP Farooq Hanna Ato Shamoun told PUKMEDIA: "As a Christian, I did not vote for the law because we feel it has already been decided to pass the amendment. We have many concerns about the third amendment to the election law. Especially in the minority constituencies for the elections, there are significant gaps."
Shamoun stated that "the Christians in the Iraqi parliament want a single constituency, independent candidates, and the winners to be those who received the most votes to preserve the rights of the minorities, specifically the rights of the Christians."
Christians are concerned about the dispersion of their votesChristians have long had their votes dispersed due to party control of their seats. The number of Christian seats has been reduced from five to two in order to further disperse their votes.
"In Article 6 of the amended electoral law, which pertains to Christians, the Christian seats were originally divided into five constituencies, but it was later changed to two constituencies. The first constituency has three seats and is divided into Baghdad, Kirkuk, and Mosul, while the second constituency has two seats and is divided into Erbil and Duhok, thereby dividing the votes of Christians," Shamoun explained.
"Despite our repeated complaints," he said, "Iraqi Christians, including those in the Kurdistan Region, have suffered for a long time from the division of their votes, while parties have dominated their seats."
The KDP now has control over two Christian seatsAccording to Christian MPs in Iraq's parliament, the KDP has been given the Christians' seats in the Nineveh Plain and that the electoral law amendment violates their rights.
Nuri al-Maliki has given authority to the KDP to take over two seats held by the Christians in the Nineveh Plain, according to a statement from Christian MPs of the Iraqi parliament provided to PUKMEDIA.
"The amended electoral law, according to most of the Coordination Framework leaders, violates Article 2 of the Iraqi Constitution and is considered to be against the religious Marja," the statement said.
The KDP has a contradictory stance on minorities
The KDP opposes dividing the minorities' seats in the Kurdistan Region but supports it in the provinces of Iraq.
"The representatives of minorities in the Kurdistan Parliament were chosen by the police and security services, not by our votes," Yonadam Kanna, secretary general of the Assyrian Democratic Movement and head of the Rafidain alliance, told PUKMEDIA.
"The KDP has not agreed to divide the minority seats among the provinces, and we do not like the mechanism currently in place for our representation in the Kurdistan Parliament, and we want to have representatives at the provincial level," Kanna continued.
Nine seats out of the 329 available in the Iraqi parliament are set aside for minority quotas, including five for Christians. According to the new law, they will only have two seats because the KDP controls three of them in Erbil, Duhok, and Nineveh.
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