After the early results were announced, many parties and many Iraqis continued to express their bitterness about the lack of a democratic process, questioning the fairness of Sunday’s elections.
Initial results suggested that Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s movement was the biggest winner of the parliamentary elections, which was the fifth after the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
The Kurdistan Region of Iraq was shaken by the claims of ‘fraud’ as some parties denounced the early results. According to the initial results in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) won 32 seats, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) won 15 seats, the New Generation Movement (NGM) won 9 seats and Kurdistan Islamic Union won 4 seats.
However, voters in Sinjar, the Yazidi-Kurdish majority region in Iraqi Kurdistan, continue to question the legitimicy of the vote in their region as many Sinjar locals were not able to vote on the grounds that they were not registered voters.
“The ballot box we are entitled [to vote in] in our neighbourhood, named ‘Number 1,’ was not allowed to function for voting till 12 pm. They first told us that it was broken. Then our friends found out later that ballot box ‘Number 1’ was for all three neighbourhoods,” a local named Dewresh from the Borik village of Sinjar told Roj News.
Although Dewresh and his fellow villagers were all very well organised and ready to vote as a whole community, many of their ID cards and documents were not recognised by the officers or not registered at some other ballot boxes.
“For instance, some of Xanesor residents’ registration voting boxes appeared to be in Rabia region. It was a kind of conspiracy implemented against our community in order to not let us be successful in the results of the election. They dispersed our votes either among so many distanced ballot boxes or evaluated us as invalid,” he said.
Dewresh believes that the Iraqi Kurdistan authorities have a problem with the people of Sinjar and the problems they encountered were not coincidental. “They dispersed our votes either among so many distanced ballots or evaluated us as invalid voters. Their trouble with us is all about Sinjar people having governed themselves autonomously. They don’t like the fact that Sinjar people take care of and administer themselves.”
Khero (Xero) Guhbel says he is a voter of the Yazidi Freedom and Democracy Party (PADE) and he had to go to the ballot box seven times in row. “Many people were not allowed to use their votes because they were registered in Rabia, which is not a region of Sinjar, but of Tal Afar,” he said.
“It seems to me that this election did not take place in a fair way. There appeared to be so many tricks that were used during the voting and also for counting.”
Guhbel insists that the elections were not fairly held, they should be re-done. “Otherwise, it will not benefit our people of Sinjar. There was a betrayal involved. Honestly, it should be repeated again.”
Seydo Hisnî, from the village of Guhbel, says that, as part of a trick, many of the voters were registered to some camps (which they were unaware of) and they were not allowed to vote where they were supposed to vote.
Neither Hisnî’s nor his family’s ID cards were recognised by machines.
“It was an attack against the Yazidi people. Many of inhabitants’ voting registrations turned out to be in some IDP camps or towns of the Kurdistan region or Iraq’s districts, and those residents’ names from those areas appeared as registered in our ballots,” he said.
“We must appeal to the states and international bodies that we are not allowed to elect our own representatives. We can no longer accept it.”
An inhabitant of the village of Guhbel named Shalan was among the volunteers who observed the ballot boxes on Sunday.
“I really did not understand why these registration machines were not recognising us. They must have been ‘fixed’ earlier to let Sinjar people vote, to” believe they would “represent themselves, be able to go to national parliament,” he said.
According to Roj News, 83,000 went to the ballet boxes in Sinjar but at the end of the day, only 13,000 people were announced as having voted. The fate of the votes of around 70,000 Sinjar locals remains unknown.
PADE opposed the election results and the manner in which they were conducted in Sinjar and applied to the Elections Commission of Ninewa for the cancellation of the elections in Sinjar.