Kurds and Arabs in Kirkuk: equal votes yet different seats

Kirkuk, October 2021- Banners of candidates for the general elections in Kirkuk. KirkukNow

By KirkukNow in Kirkuk

The Kurd and Arab candidates have earned equal votes in the October general elections while the seats of the Kurdish political parties were higher.

Each of the Arab and Kurd candidates have gathered about 172,000 votes which made the Kurds earn six seats while only four seats for the Arabs.

One of the main challenges the Kurdish political parties faced the big trend of boycott as the majority lost trust in the political process and parties since 2003 marred by corruption and mismanagement.

The two key Kurdish political parties, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan PUK and the Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP, lost big shares of the votes they gained back in 2018 elections though both were accused of fraud.

In return, the Arab political parties in Kirkuk could not make use of the retreat in the Kurdish-dominant first constituency though they earned a seat out of five there.

The Arabs have won the three seats in the third Arab-dominant electoral district. Kurds and Turkmens shared the four seats of the second mixed electoral district.

The Kurds managed to get six seats compared to four for the Arabs and only two for the Turkmens, the Independent High Electoral Commission IHEC said on October 16th.

IHEC said that Kurds have earned 172,795 votes in Kirkuk while the Arabs have made 172,769. The Turkmens have gathered 65,089 votes, according to calculations by KirkuKnow taking the ethnicity of the candidates into consideration not the list they represented.

Located 238 kilometers north of Baghdad, the oil-rich province of Kirkuk is an ethnically mixed province for 1.6 million Kurds, Arabs, and Turkmen, Muslims, Christians and Kaka'is. It has long been at the center of disputes between Baghdad and the Erbil.


Kirkuk, Oct. 10th 2021- Mother and her daughter cast ballots in a Kirkuk polling station for the general elections.


Kirkuk's first constituency: highest boycott

The Kurds had an upper hand in Kirkuk up to 2017 when Iraqi security forces declared victory over the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria ISIS and took over power in the disputed territories including Kirkuk.

The acting governor, Rakan al-Jibouri, an Arab, replaced the Kurdish governor back in 2017 and still in office.

Currently, Iraqi army, local and federal police, Brigade 61 of Special Forces along with Shiite paramilitary of Popular Mobilization Forces PMF, are under Kirkuk joint operations’ command, an umbrella for the security forces running the security of Kirkuk province. 

About 461,328 eligible voters were to vote for five seats only while only 168,997 cast ballots, meaning the turnout was 36.6%.

The Kurdish candidates have got 143,208 votes and earned four seats. An Arab candidate has got 18,583 votes and earned the fifth seat leaving no space for the Turkmens who gathered only 6,668 votes.

Second constituency: Arab discord in favor of Kurds and Turkmens

In the second electoral district where every ethnicity was fighting hard, miscalculations by the Arabs who got 57,312 have left them empty handed because of the various candidates representing several parties and alliances in addition to several independent candidates.

Only 145,189 voters cast ballot out of 398,170 eligible voters meaning the turnout was only 36.4%. Turkmens were the first and gathered 58,145 votes to earn two seats despite their internal rivalry.

The two other seats went to the Kurds who collected 29,574 votes.

komisioni kirkuk (3)

Kirkuk, January 2021- A resident of Kirkuk has received his electronic, biometric voting card, one of the measures followed by the IHEC to avoid fraud and double voting. KirkukNow

On October 10th, over one million Kirkukis had the right to vote in 315 ballot stations for 33 female candidates and 87 male candidates.

The Arab component has run for the parliamentary race in Kirkuk with 60 candidates for the three constituencies of Kirkuk which disseminated their votes and yet still managed to earn four seats compared to three in 2018.

The third pure Arab constituency

The Arab candidates have easily gathered al the three seats of the third electoral district with no rivals.

The turnout was the highest in Kirkuk since it hit 44.7. About 97,000 voters out of 217,000 cast ballots.

Turkmens made only 109 votes and Kurds only 13.

Kirkuk, October 10th 2021- Predictions of the results in Kirkuk was one of the hardest as the race was tough in the miniature Iraq. KirkukNow

Final yet not confirmed results

The Kurds have won six seats compared to four seats for the Arabs despite the parallel votes and two for the Turkmens who were occupying three seats in 2018 elections.

The low turnout in the first and second constituency was in favor of the Arabs in the third constituency though they failed to compete in the mixed and Kurdish electoral districts.

The new electoral law ratified last November, a key demand of demonstrators in 2019, changed each of the country’s 18 provinces into total 83 electoral districts in order to prevent parties from running on unified lists, which has in the past helped them easily take all the seats in a specific province. Instead, the seats would go to whoever gets the most votes in the electoral districts.

The 329-member house of representatives was elected in May 2018. The vote is held every four years, but 2019 protesters have been demanding early elections.

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