A number of the election posters promoting the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) candidates have been torn down in Kirkuk as the election campaign for the provincial election recently began.
The vandalism has mainly targeted the electoral campaigns of the Kurdish candidates, mainly including those from KDP, Kurdistan 24 has learned. Dr. Mohammed Khorsheed, a KDP candidate running for a provincial council seat, said “Most of our posters” have been torn down and destroyed.
“This is a political insolvency for anyone behind this act,” he said, refusing to point the blame on any entity.
The KDP’s headquarters have been shut in the oil-rich province since 2017 after the party spearheaded the independence referendum in the Kurdistan Region and the disputed territories between Erbil and Baghdad. Kurdistan 24 has learned the party will officially reopen its headquarters in the city on Sunday.
At least 30 candidates are currently running on the KDP list for the council, which used to hold the majority seats prior to 2017. Iraqi federal provinces will hold provincial council elections on Dec. 18 this year. The official election campaign began on Nov. 1.
The Iraqi provincial elections will not include the Kurdistan Region, as the semi-autonomous region runs its own polls for the councils. The Kurdish parties have previously voiced concerns over the “demographic changes” that had taken place in the province following the events of Oct 16, 2017, in which Kurdish forces were ousted by Iranian-backed Shiite militias and the Iraqi army.
As a multi-ethnic province, Kirkuk has long been a subject of dispute between the Iraqi government and the Kurdish leadership.
According to the Iraqi constitution’s Article 140, the status of the province is to be decided by its residents by conducting a census, followed by a referendum, and de-Arabization of the area.