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Iraq's Election Law Unfair to Kurds, Says Barzani

Arbel, Kurdistan Region -- Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani told a delegation of Iraqi politicians and heads of parliamentary blocs Saturday that Iraq's election law has been unfair to the Kurds and needs to be changed ahead of next year's nationwide parliamentary elections.

According to a statement from the president's office, Barzani told the delegation that, "In the distribution of seats in previous provincial elections a lot of injustice has been done to the Kurds."

The Kurdish president, whose own Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) won 38 seats in last month's regional parliamentary elections, said that the flaws of Iraq's past elections should have been investigated.

"To correct those mistakes and undo the injustice, there should have been an investigation and to get the true share of provincial seats there should have been a general census," Barzani told the delegation, which was led by the Sunni parliamentary speaker, Osama Nujeifi.

The Kurdistan Region is semi-independent and has its own legislature, but Kurdish parties also participate in Iraqi provincial and parliamentary elections. However, their best chances are in the provinces of Nineveh, Kirkuk and Diyala which have large Kurdish populations.

Nujeifi, whose own Sunni bloc has complained of irregularities in the elections in the past, said that, "The election law is something that needs the agreement of all political groups behind it."

Iraq's next elections are due before the end of April next year, and the meeting in Erbil was to ensure political disagreements between Sunni, Kurdish and Shiite groups are resolved before then.

"Disagreements among the political groups shouldn't lead to the postponement of the elections," Nujeifi emphasized.

In the 2010 elections, Kurdish groups altogether won 49 seats in the Iraqi parliament. Since 2003, and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime, the Kurds have been involved in Iraqi politics through parliament and ministerial posts.

"All parties should find a solution for the election law," Barzani said to the Iraqi delegation. "But this solution shouldn't be at the expense of the Kurdistan Region or any particular group," he stressed.

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