Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) representative and member of its leadership council, Nasrullah Surchi, has accused the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of committing election fraud in Shingal and Nineveh provinces. They have claimed that KDP set up roadblocks in the Mosul region and intimidated voters while conducting ballot box manipulation. Nasrullah Surchi is also the Mosul branch head for the PUK, he stated during a press conference yesterday,
They [KDP] coordinated between the Khazer checkpoint with the party’s political committee in that area to prohibit travelling to Mosul because our list got ahead of the KDP list. They say they don’t accept any list in that area to get ahead of their list. Wherever people are, they are free. They [KDP] don’t have the right to behave in this way with our cadres and supporters.”
So far, the PUK has only obtained one parliamentary seat for the region while the KDP has locked down four according to Surchi. However, the KDP is claiming to have secured seven seats. Surchi also claimed that armed KDP supporters conducted drive-by shootings on the homes of PUK members and supporters. He said that Shingal’s ballot boxes were hidden by the KDP for three days before the vote and that they sent security forces into polling centers to use intimidation tactics against voters. In total 38 complaints have been filed against the KDP by the PUK in Mosul and Duhok, according to Surchi.
Typical of the autonomous Kurdistan region, complaints and allegations of election fraud have been leveled against the PUK as well, particularly in places where they are winning in historic PUK strongholds of influence such as Sulaymaniah and Kirkuk. The PUK has been accused of rigging the election by not only the KDP but also many other smaller political parties. Surchi has laid out that the PUK is prepared to adhere to whatever decision is made by the electoral commission. He also commented that the right to file complaints is there for anyone who feels that rules were violated.
Despite doing rather poorly in the election, current Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has asked voters and political parties to respect the results. Yesterday a delegation of 6 Kurdish political parties convened to discuss the situation and what their actions should be towards the allegations of electoral fraud. They requested that the electoral process be redone in the autonomous region of Kurdistan by the electoral commission.
Featured image courtesy of James Gordon [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons