Kurdish MP laments Turkmen and Arabs' objection to Christian representation in Kirkuk

A Kurdish member of the Iraqi parliament lamented the Turkmen and Arab parties' refusal to allow Christians in Kirkuk to have a representative in the proposed provincial election, thus they have not yet reached a consensus over the issue.

(REUTERS / Ako Rasheed)Kurdish Peshmerga forces celebrate Newroz Day, a festival marking spring and the new year, in Kirkuk March 20, 2017.

On Aug. 5, Kurdish MP Mahmood Osman told Kurdistan 24 that the Turkmen and Arabs want to have special status in Kirkuk, a province dominated by Kurds. He said the Parliamentary Speaker and all the other political parties will have to continue working until they reach a decision on whether to give the go signal for the province's electoral law.

"We suggested that the governorship goes to the representative with the most votes, the runner up would get Head of the Provincial Council, third place would be the Governor's first deputy, and lastly, the role of second deputy would go to the Christians," said Osman.

However, the Arab and Turkmen representatives allegedly insisted that the one who gets the third-highest number of votes should become the first and second deputy. For Osman, this sends the message that the two parties do not believe in the Kirkuk Christians' rights. Still, he said the Kurds want all the peoples' rights to be protected.

Farhad Qadir, another Kurdish MP in Iraq, said Kurds want Kirkuk to achieve "the same status as other provinces under the purview of the electoral commission." However, they do not have any problem when it comes to provincial electoral laws.

Meanwhile, the Kurdistan Region has been at the center of the spotlight because of an upcoming independence referendum set for Sept. 25. Iraqi Turkmen Front's head Arshad Salihi had earlier demanded that disputed areas be excluded from the vote, Rudaw reported.

Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin told TV Net that the problem of the lack of trust between Iraqi groups cannot be solved by the Kurdistan independence referendum. He said the people just want a "more transparent, just, and effective government."

In addition, Kalin warned that the Kurdistan referendum will only threaten Iraq's integrity, as holding the vote in the region will have to be acknowledged by the Iraqi parliament, and holding it outside the region will spark legal and political woes. He also predicted Turkmen and Arab will likely not take part in the referendum if it pushes through.

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