No Agreement on Formation of Shingal (Sinjar) Administration, Nineveh Council Extends Nomination for Mayor

A main street in the center of Shingal district, Nineveh, 2024. Laith Hussein

By Ammar Aziz in Nineveh

The formation of the new administration in the war-torn Shingal, home for the Ezidi (Yazidi) community, awaits the political parties that have not yet reached an agreement, which forced the Nineveh Provincial Council to extend the period for receiving applications to run for the position of mayor.

Nominations for the position of mayor of Shingal opened at the beginning of last April, and April 15 was scheduled to be the last date for receiving nomination applications, but due to the absence of agreement between the parties and the presence of only two candidates for the position, the date was extended until the middle of May.

Idan Shivan, a member of the Nineveh Provincial Council for the Ezidi component, told (KirkukNow) that “the council is working seriously to solve the problem of forming the judicial administration, and the period for receiving nomination applications has been extended until mid-May, and this coincides with the continuation of meetings and talks between the parties to reach a solution and it is fairly close to an agreement, but nothing official has been announced yet.”

Under the Iraqi Provincial Law, due to the absence of district councils, identifying and electing candidates for the position of mayor for districts and sub-districts is within the powers of the Provincial Council. In this context, the Nineveh Provincial Council formed a committee to nominate the Shingal administration.

Muhammad Jassim, head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan PUK bloc in the Nineveh Provincial Council, told (KirkukNow) that “the Provincial Council has the right to elect a person to the position of mayor of Shingal, so nominations have been opened and there are currently two candidates for the position.”

The lack of candidates for the position is due to the disagreement among the political parties before voting on the candidates in the Provincial Council.

“Everyone knows who will assume the position of mayor according to the number of votes, but even if the mayor is installed by consensus, we have no problem. What matters to us is choosing a person accepted by the people of Shingal, regardless of the party or party to which he belongs,” Shivan said.

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Nineveh Governor, Abdul Qadir Al-Dakhil speaks before members of the Provincial Council, Nineveh, 2024. Ahmed Bulla

The position of mayor of Shingal was previously in the hands of the Kurdish parties, which in the current session of the Nineveh Provincial Council hold six seats, out of 29 seats, (four for the Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP and two for the PUK), the other seats - except for the three quota seat allocated to each of the Ezidis, Shabaks, and Christians - distributed among the Sunni and Shiite Arab blocs.

Idris Zozani, the media official for the KDP in Shingal, told KirkukNow, “The Shingal administration positions will be decided according to a political agreement, and no agreement can be concluded without the Kurdistan Democratic Party. The Kurdistan Democratic Party began high-level talks with political parties long ago to form a new administration in Shingal.

Zozani stressed that "the Shingal issue is political and will be resolved with the Iraqi government."

This comes at a time when there is talk of several scenarios for forming the Shingal administration, one of which is granting the position of mayor of Shingal to a candidate close to the Popular Mobilization Forces PMF (from the Ezidi component) and the position of Sinuni sub-district director to a candidate from the PUK.

Muhammad Jassim said, “There was a tendency to grant the position of mayor to a quota of Ezidis, and the director of the Sununi sub-district of the PUK, but there is no agreement yet, even though obtaining a high position such as the position of sub-district director is our right.”

He added that there is no official agreement in this regard yet.

There have been two administrations in Shingal for seven years, one operating from Dohuk and the other within the district. In addition to these two administrations, the Democratic Autonomous-Administration Council in Shingal, formed by parties close to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK, has power in the district as a project to administer Shingal.

An Ezidi protest gathering against the Shingal Agreement, Nineveh, 2020. KirkukNow

Shivan says that the Ezidis have not negotiated with any party regarding the position of mayor, are looking forward to working in a spirit of cooperation in Shingal, and seek to solve Shingal’s problems and form a new administration as quickly as possible.

Ahead of the provincial council elections, specifically in 2020, the Shingal Agreement was concluded between the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG to reorganize the administrative, security, and service sectors yet its provisions have not yet been implemented.

Shingal District (120 km west of Mosul) is a disputed area between the Iraqi federal government and the KRG within Nineveh Governorate. It is home to about 334,000 people, over 91,000 of whom live in the center of the district, the majority of whom are Ezidis. ISIS militants took control of Shingal on August 3, 2014, and recaptured it on November 13, 2015. Thousands of Yazidis were kidnapped, killed, displaced and the city was destroyed.

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