Ruling KDP takes strong lead in Kurdistan election, early polls say

Ruling KDP takes strong lead in Kurdistan election, early polls say
The ruling KDP is far ahead in the vote, with its junior coalition partner the PUK earning less than half its votes so far.
2 min read
05 October, 2018
Votes being counted in Iraqi Kurdistan [Getty]
The Kurdistan Democratic Party was leading in elections in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq, according to preliminary results released on Thursday, with 85 percent of the votes already counted.

Iraq's Kurds voted on Sunday in a parliamentary election, nearly a year after voters overwhelming backed an independence referendum that infuriated Baghdad and saw it deploy troops to Kurdish areas and retake oil fields. 

According to the Independent High Elections and Referendum Commission (KHEC), the KDP was leading with 595,592 as of Thursday.

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), which is a junior coalition partner to the KDP, is in a distant second with 287,575 votes. 

But the PUK warned it might not recognise the results and cited reports in election violations, casting doubt on the fairness of the vote. 

Monitors also noted voting irregularities. 

Experts say the two parties are likely to share power again after the final tally comes in, but that Masoud Barzani's KDP will take a more dominant position in Kurdish politics. 

The KDP and PUK fought a civil war in the 1990s, and most recently competed for the Iraqi presidency. The election of Barham Salih saw the PUK beat the KDP in that contest. 

The largely ceremonial role of president has been reserved for the Kurds since Iraq's first multi-party elections in 2005, two years after the US-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.

The Goran opposition party, or Movement for Change, has received 164,336 so far according to the early tally. 

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