Kurdistan opposition advances

In Iraq’s Kurdish region, the opposition apparently has made substantial gains in elections over the weekend, AFP reports:

A joint list uniting Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani* won 60 percent of ballots cast in the parliamentary vote, Hussein said.

The two parties have dominated Iraqi Kurdish politics for half a century, first as rebels and then as the region’s effective rulers in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf war over Saddam Hussein’s invasion of neighbouring Kuwait.

The results would give the KDP-PUK list around 55 seats in the 111-seat parliament, down from 78 seats in the outgoing assembly elected in 2005.

A senior Goran [Change, the opposition alliance] official told AFP that his party would win 28 seats…

Something there does not quite add up. One the one hand, the ruling alliance is said to have won 60% of the votes. On the other hand, it is said to have won just short of half the seats.

The regional president, Massud Barzani, was reelected with 70% of the vote.

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* Although always reported as “President,” technically he is the chairman of the three-person presidency council.

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