Kurdish parties have secured a major presence in the Kirkuk and Mosul councils in Iraq’s local elections held on 18 December.
Official results are yet to be announced by Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), the unofficial results reveal that Kurdish parties guaranteed eight of the 16 seats in the Kirkuk Provincial Council. Of these, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) secured five seats, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) two and the New Generation Movement (Newey Nwe) one. If the PUK gains a sixth seat, as expected, Kurds will hold the majority in the Kirkuk Council and have the right to appoint the governor.
Rzgar Haji Hama, an official of the PUK’s Election Bureau, highlighted the increase in the PUK’s vote share to 90% in this election. He mentioned that the PUK has gained more than half of the votes in the Kirkuk area and is poised to claim the governorship of the city based on these results.
In Mosul, the KDP appears victorious with seven seats in the Nineveh Provincial Council. Notably, a Christian candidate closely aligned with the KDP also secured a seat, adding to their influence in the region.
The election saw varied participation among different communities. In Kirkuk, around 70% of the Arab voters, mainly from Hawija, turned out to vote. The turnout was similar for Kurds, while the Turkmen community saw a 50-60% turnout. The Arab Alliance, led by appointed Governor Rekan Juburi, garnered 80,000 votes, with other Arab coalitions securing notable numbers as well.
In Mosul, the Nineveh Li’Ahliha Coalition, led by former governor Najim al-Jubouri, won six seats, while the National Progressive Coalition, led by former Parliament Speaker Muhammad al-Halbusi, secured four. The Sovereignty Coalition, led by Sunni leader Hamis Hanjar, also gained three seats.