Democracy and Elections

Observation Report of the Propaganda Campaigns in the Parliamentary Elections of Kurdistan 2013

Tammuz Organization for Social Development began to monitor the  electoral process in the Kurdistan Region to elect a regional parliament through its volunteers observers, where the organization has issued this special report to monitor the electoral propaganda campaigns since its launch on August 28 until September 18, 2013, the official period determined by the Independent High Electoral Commission to conduct campaigns electoral propaganda of the political entities that will participate in the scheduled elections in September 21.2013.
The political entities (37) compete and (1129) candidates on (111) parliamentary seats, (100) general seats and (11) specified seats for minorities according to the quota system as it competes (1089) a hundred of general seats, while competing (25) Turkmen candidates to five allocated seats within the quota and compete (15) Christian candidates on five allocated seats within the quota and (4) candidates of Armenians seats. And our organization have registered through its observers deployed in the provinces of the region highlighted the observations in this report from the night start campaigning to the last day of the campaign, which include it in the points below:

Positive Notes:
1. The role of the Independent High Electoral Commission was positive in urging people to participate in the parliament elections of Kurdistan Region through media, direct culture seminars and educational leaflets in the three provinces of the region (Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Dohuk) in cooperation with civil Society Organizations, observation networks, attorneys of the political entities and the security bodies to provide security and safety of citizens and to ensure the success of the elections at all levels.
2. The formation of high commission to raise awareness and culture of elections, where composed of representatives of the Electoral Commission, the Ministry of Endowments, the Ministry of Culture and Youth in the province, and the two organizations to monitor the elections, and one of them are Tammuz Organization for Social Development.
3. The political entities has entered to the elections with sole lists for the first time in the region after 2003, and the adoption of semi-open list system which lead to make a strong competition among political entities and candidates, and this is what made the propaganda campaign bigger and stronger compared to the previous propaganda campaigns for previous electoral processes.
4. The President Masood al-Barazani called all Kurdistan forces and parties to respect all systems and laws in Kurdistan Region, and keeping of security and law and abide by the laws and instructions of the Independent High Electoral Commission.
5. Issued a circular letter from the Ministry Endowments and Religious Affairs in the region to all preachers and clerics in the region to abide by neutrality in religious speeches and do not use religious platforms for propaganda campaign and the importance of awareness and culture to participate in the election vote.
6. The declarations of the members of commission council in the Independent High Electoral Commission for the political entities and candidates abide by the standards of the election campaigns in Kurdistan according to the electoral campaigns no. (6) For year 2013.
7. Public participation widely of supporters of political entities, and their effectiveness in electoral propaganda campaigns for their parties and candidates.
8. TV informative seminars have held for parties and main lists in the political arena in Kurdish cities and broadcast directly via satellite of those parties’ channels.
9. It was noted that a number of candidates make a direct interviews and seminars with citizens to introduce their electoral program and broadcasting directly on their channel of Satellite.
10. The security forces have widely spread to maintain security in the region and coordination with the Independent High Electoral Commission for the Protection of the polling stations with elections approaching.
11- Advertising to pages some candidates and lists in social networking sites, especially Facebook and the price paid ads
12. Provide the stable security situation in region helped to different propagandas among people, motorcades ambulant and direct interviews until after midnight.

Negative Notes:
1. There is no law determine propaganda campaigns budget and knowledge of competing finance entities sources of the election, which led to a clear disparity in size of propagandas among the big parties and entities, small parties and independents from funds paid out to propagandas.
2. The lack of the presence of independent media in the region, which deprived a lot of independent candidates of appropriate opportunities to participate of media attendees and election propagandas.
3. The ruling political parties try using government power for the benefit of advertising campaigns lists and candidates through the giving of electoral promises and services in conjunction with the near propaganda campaign, for example: the announcement of the availability of 2500 careers, reduce gasoline prices in the region and the distribution a number of housing for the poor.
4. It was controlled a number of people using the public places as buildings and government vehicles in the electoral propagandas.
5. Disruption of posters for all political entities without exception.
6. One of candidates promote for himself through Friday Speech in one of mosques.
7. Rise in competition electoral campaigns and propaganda in the region, which led to clashes between supporters of the Kurdistan Change Movement and the Patriotic Union Party of Kurdistan in Sulaimaniya, which caused the martyrdom three people and wounding 11 other peoples.
8. Clashes between supporters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party and supporters of the Kurdistan Change Movement in Erbil.
9. Some candidates of Kurdistan Region exposed to attack by unknown gangs during the period of the electoral campaigns.
10. A number of candidates and political entities present  complaints to the Electoral Commission, according to declaration by Commission President, where he said that we received 4 complaints and issued 156 penalty against Kurdish political entities, who are not committed to the campaign system (No. 6) for the year 2013 of Kurdistan Parliament elections.
11. Some of the main streets cut off during night in the region because of motorcades and electoral propaganda of some political parties and forces caused severe crowding impacted negatively on the movement of the citizens in city centers at night, and the presence of security officers and traffic who do not work to prevent these situations that affect the flow of traffic, all that led to release a decision by the security authorities to prevent the continuation of promotional activities after midnight.

It is worth mentioning that Tammuz Organization for Social Development is working to monitor the elections in order to ensure the success and promote of democracy in the country, where the organization has participated in the monitoring of all electoral processes in Iraq and the region since 2005. It is now preparing spread a number of volunteers’ observers in the three provinces of the region to monitor elections Kurdistan region Parliament.

Tammuz Organization for Social Development

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