September 4, 2009
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South of Kurdistan : political earthquake will change political map – Part 1 - By Mufid Abdulla

Following the recent election in the south of Kurdistan on the 25th July 2009 the outcome, in which The Change List (Gorran) won 25 seats in Kurdish Parliament, can clearly be considered as a ‘political earthquake’. This is a term for which the following definition is useful and apt; ‘a great convulsion or upheaval’ (1). Although these words ‘convulsion’ and ‘upheaval’ often have negative connotations, the main interpretation I would like to make is that of a strong force or will of change and whether or not this is positive or negative depends very much upon the individual nation and the circumstances which have led to the upheaval. Where changes have taken place in a just-manner because of the will of the voting public for change, this clearly is a fantastic occurrence and indicates the power of the people to change the shape of their nation and their prospects for the future. In cases where a political earthquake has occurred due to corrupt acts of those in power, the outcomes are likely to be very different and have the potential to spiral problems into deeper rooted ones where major changes in future politics become much more difficult. In my essay I aim to explain and analyse the situation with the elections in the south of Kurdistan which I witnessed first-hand in Sulaimaniyah and Erbil . I will do this in four parts covering the reactions of the KRG and 2 ruling parties; the reaction and reflection of the people to these events; the consequences and finally my own conclusion.

Before focusing on the south of Kurdistan , let us first consider some examples of political earthquakes in other countries. Only this week we have seen such an event taking place in Japan with the landslide victory of the Democratic Party of Japan who have taken over from the Liberal Democratic Party which has governed Japan almost continuously since 1955. Now the country has a completely new government and in fact has gone through what could be defined as a ‘revolution’ with the new government presenting itself as young and energetic with a more Keynesian approach in their economics and aiming to tackle the growing inequality in Japanese society between the rich and the poor. As this change is so current it will obviously take some time before we see the extent to which the changes can really take place but the potential is certainly there and there could be huge changes in the economic and social makeup of Japan both nationally and internationally from the very conservative society they have had so long in which there has been a great reluctance for change.

Another example which cannot be disputed as a major political earthquake was of course the U.S election result last November where we saw the election of the U.S’s first black president Barack Obama. This huge upheaval did not happen overnight and followed a lengthy presidential campaign as well as of course previous factors which were surely on the minds of voters; such as the unpopularity of President George W. Bush and many of his decisions in the area of international politics. Again in this case this change took place less than a year ago and it is hard to decipher yet to what extent American society and it’s global agenda will change for the better.

In terms of historical events there are numerous cases we can consider as political earthquakes; the announcement by the East German government in 1989 of the ability of citizens to visit West Germany and West Berlin which started the reunification process of Germany which was concluded the following year; the independence of Eastern Bloc countries; the British Labour Party’s victory in 1997. Almost every nation around the world at some point will have experienced a political earthquake which has had an important impact in their history.


(1) "earthquake." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. 2009. 3 Sep. 2009 <>.


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