July 10, 2009
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Response from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office regarding election in the south of Kurdistan - By Mufid Abdulla

In respect of my letter sent to the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on 8th May 2009 regarding the upcoming election in the south of Kurdistan, I would like to share the response with you, the Kurdish people and the Kurdish media. The response is as follows:

‘Iraq is making steady progress on its democratic journey. We welcome this year the successful and peaceful provincial elections held in January, when the Iraqi people showed their determination to embrace the political process, and reject the false doctrine of violence. In Basra alone, the provincial elections saw 1,272 candidates, including 337 women compete for 35 seats on the local council.

You expressed strong concerns about the forthcoming elections in the Kurdistan Region. As you mention the date of the Kurdistan Region’s parliamentary elections (the first since 1992) has now been set: the elections will take place on 25 July. The UK is already active in offering assistance to the Iraqi Higher Electoral Committee (IHEC) to ensure the elections take place in a fair and transparent fashion.

In this regard, the British Consul General in Erbil met the local Chairman of IHEC, Mr Ali Ubed on 9 May to discuss IHEC’s preparations. The Chairman made it very clear that international election monitors would be welcome: IHEC expect to print 37,000 ID cards for international and local monitors.

Officials in the British Consulate General in Erbil and in the British Embassy in Baghdad are now considering the make-up of British election monitoring teams, and how they will be deployed. All three of our posts in Iraq (Erbil, Baghdad and Basra), in conjunction with the EU took part in successful election monitoring during the provincial elections in January.

In our messages to Iraqi leaders in Erbil and in Baghdad we will also continue to impress on them the importance of approaching elections, and their campaigns for those elections with a commitment to fairness and transparency. As the Prime Minister has said, there is still work to be done in Iraq, and we will continue to work with Iraqi authorities to help them develop their democratic institutions.’

Response from Alex Partridge, Iraq Group, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.


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