The Kurdistan Region’s Independent High Electoral and Referendum Commission (IHERC) has yet to be provided with the funds needed for the referendum anticipated to be held this year on the region’s independence, spokesman Shirwan Zrar said. During a press conference held in Erbil following the committee’s meeting with Kurdish political parties under the auspices of the United Nations, the IHERC spokesman said the allocated money is sufficient only for the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections. “An average of 22 billion Iraqi dinars is set to be deposited to the commission’s account for the parliamentary and presidential elections”, Zrar said. A date for holding the Kurdistan Region’s referendum has yet to be scheduled. According to IHERC estimates there are around 3,500,000 eligible voters. The IHERC spokesman said the commission will attempt to use electronic services in the process of counting votes for an efficient process and to announce the result of the elections as soon as possible. The committee has been in touch with the Ministry of Health to combat voter fraud and have clear voter registration rolls, Zrar said.
The Iranian Government will open polling stations for eligible citizens living in the Kurdistan Region to cast their ballot in the country’s May 19 presidential election, an official from the Iranian Embassy in Erbil said on Monday. Iranian official Mohammed Shirzad was quoted by Mehr News Agency as saying “Polling stations are already set to open in Erbil, Binaslawa and Soran for the upcoming Iran elections”. Shirzad said people eligible to vote in the Kurdistan Region will soon be informed about the whereabouts of polling stations. “Iranians who are in the region’s prisons will be able to vote due to preparations done”, he added. The campaign for the presidential race has been underway since April 28 and will continue until May 17. The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) Secretary, Mustafa Hejri told NRT on May 2 that his party, along with five other Kurdish parties, have decided to boycott the presidential election in Iran.
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani met with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel in Erbil . The German foreign minister discussed the war against Islamic State (ISIS), military assistance to Peshmerga forces, and German relations with the region.The KRG said in a statement that Gabriel reaffirmed German military and humanitarian assistance for the Kurdistan Region during the meeting with KRG premier Barzani. The statement added that Gabriel also said Germany will try to strengthen bilateral relations in all fields with the Kurdistan Region. He also stated that dialogue and discussion between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region should take place in order to resolve outstanding issues. According to a defense ministry spokesman, Germany has delivered 70 tons of weapons, including 1,500 rifles, 100 shoulder-fired rockets and three armored vehicles, to the KRG.
The G7 group of powerful nations has emphasized its continual support for “unity and territorial integrity” of Iraq, calling on both Baghdad and Erbil to take their military cooperation as a model for a political cooperation after the defeat of ISIS in the country. The statement came out as the top leadership in Kurdistan Region, including President Masoud Barzani and Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani were in a meeting to discuss holding independence referendum in 2017. The international G7 group includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and were also joined by the High Representative of the European Union who met in Italy on April 10-11. The Kurdistan Region has already discussed holding the independence referendum with three members of the G7, the US, France, and the United Kingdom, according to a senior Kurdish official. “We reassert our continued support for the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Iraq”, the G7 statement said.
Iraqi President Fuad Masum requested,during a meeting with Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul Jabar al-Luaibi on Thursday, an increase in the share of oil to five governorates, including Sulaimani, Erbil and Duhok, which suffer from the high price of kerosene as winter temperatures set in across the Kurdistan Region.
“There is a need for the increase of the oil share for the governorates of Sulaimani, Erbil, Salahadin and Mosul,”the official website of the Iraqi Presidency said. Masum and Luaibi also discussed achievements obtained after the production cut of oil and the Iraqi Oil Ministry’s upcoming plans to meet the needs of the country.