Saturday, April 12, 2014

Green and Blue and Yellow and Brown: Election in Iraqi Kurdistan

Election fever has hit in Iraqi Kurdistan and Iraq as a whole. Last September 21 another election was held. That one was for Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) parliament and many seats changed hands. The results showed that the people in this half of IK were discontented with the existing leaders and the Gorran/Change list gained many new seats. BUT that was 6 months ago and in reality the change has not happened. Government decisions are still on hold because a new government has not been formed yet. The old guard have not let go of their positions. And the people wait.

Traditionally (since the civil war in 1994) the KDP (Kurdish Democratic Party-yellow) has controlled the northern part of Iraqi Kurdistan. The PUK (Kurdish Union Party- green) has controlled the south.

Into this situation comes another election. This one is for the Iraqi government as well as Kurdish municipal and regional governerate positions. We have not heard of any deaths yet in the campaign process, but I am surprised that this has not happened. The campaign was legally opened a month before the election and immediately the region became awash with colours: green, blue, yellow and brown. Every night on the main street here in Sulaimani the men, young and old. drive their cars packed with male supporters and flags, up and down the street. The testosterone oozes from the traffic jam and the young men hang from the windows screaming and yelling. This increases when they see a car with a different colour of flag. They release fireworks from the open windows as they drive along and often the sound of the "bang" changes when they shoot guns into the air..

In the main city square- Maidan Sara

This is the reason that I won't be able to give you any photos of the night life. I would rather stay close to home when the men start driving. Last election a bystander woman was killed by a stray bullet.

Thoughts on observing all this election fever:

-I know that the flags and pennants use a lot of resources to make and they are already creating a lot of rubbish and pollution. But I inwardly like seeing them wave in the breeze and add colour to the city.
-I really don't see how the flags and pennants and signs would ever really encourage anyone to change their minds in who they would vote for.
-I am quite glad that the elections in Canada do not include shooting into the air (with pistols and Kalashnikovs).
-But because I like seeing the flags and pennants, here are some photos:

There are a few Islamist Union party flags also
This is outside my bedroom window, looking at the school gate

Looking toward Mosgowti Ibrahim

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