Iraqi Kurdistan to elect new parliament on first anniversary of failed independence vote

Iraqi Kurdistan to elect new parliament on first anniversary of failed independence vote

Voters in the semi-autonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan will elect a new parliament today, one year after the region attempted

A Kurdish woman walks past campaign posters ahead of regional elections, in Erbil

Photo: Reuters/Azad Lashkari

Voters in the semi-autonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan will elect a new parliament today, one year after the region attempted to secede from Iraq by referendum.

The Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament is the legislative body of the devolved region under a power-sharing agreement with the central government in Baghdad. Kurdistan’s largest political party, the Kurdistan Democratic Party, is predicted to receive the largest vote share with minimal prospects for political change. 92% of Kurds backed the KDP’s push for independence last year.

The KDP’s continued popularity raises concerns for Baghdad due to its political goal of independence for the region, home to some of the country’s largest untapped oil reserves. The election is not expected to quash the region’s desire for greater autonomy and increased income from its oil reserves, especially as it suffers under economic sanctions from Baghdad. While prospects for change in the region’s political composition appear slim, the inability of the Iraqi parliament to form a government raises the chance of continued political manoeuvres in Kurdistan for greater autonomy. Baghdad’s dysfunction means it will not be able to engage meaningfully with Kurdistan on autonomy, nor mobilise resources to begin rebuilding the region or the country as a whole.

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