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09BAGHDAD2238 2009-08-18 13:50:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

KRG ELECTIONS: IHEC ANNOUNCES PROVISIONAL RESULTS

Tags:   PGOV KDEM IZ 
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1. (C) SUMMARY: Having announced last week provisional
results of the Kurdistan regional elections, the Independent
High Electoral Commission (IHEC) has shifted its attention to
preparing for the national elections, expected to take place
in January 2009. Overall, contacts at UNAMI, diplomatic
missions and Iraqi civil society, credited IHEC with a
well-run election organization effort in the KRG elections.
The provisional results, which closely track the preliminary
results that IHEC announced July 29, confirm that Masoud
Barzani easily won the Kurdistan Region's first popular
election of a president, and that the coalition of the
Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan (PUK) retained the majority of seats in the Iraqi
Kurdistan Parliament (IKP). The final, certified results of
the KRG election will be published in late August after the
Kurdistan Electoral Judicial Panel completes its review of
appeals filed on the IHEC's decisions. END SUMMARY.



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Provisional Results Confirm Barzani, Kurdistan List


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2. (U) At a press conference in Erbil on August 7, IHEC
Commissioner Hamdia Al-Husseini reported that 1,819,652
votes had been counted in the KRG presidential elections and
1,876,196 votes had been counted in the Iraqi Kurdistan
Parliamentary elections. The provisional results confirm
President Masoud Barzani as the first popularly elected
president of the KRG with 69.60% of the vote (Ref B).
Dr.Kamal Merawdali won 25.30% of the vote, and five other
candidates split the remaining five percent of the vote.
(Halo Ibrahim Ahman won 3.5% of the vote. Ahmad Mohammed
Rasool Nabi Safin Jaji Sheikh Mohammed won 1.04% of the vote,
and Hussein Garmyani won 0.59% of the vote.)



3. (SBU) In the race for the 111-seat Iraqi Kurdish
Parliament, the Kurdistan Coalition (KDP-PUK) is likely to
retain its majority, though at a significant reduction from
the 104 seats it previously held. IHEC's provisional
results show the KDP-PUK winning 57.37% of the vote, which is
expected to result in 59 seats. Nawshirwan Mustafa's
Change List (Goran) party won a surprising 23.72% of the
votes, and is expected to receive 25 seats in the IKP.
IHEC's provisional results also show that the Services and
Reform Coalition won 12.84% of the vote, which is likely to
result in 13 seats. (NOTE: Seat allocations remain estimates
until the election results are certified. END NOTE.). The
Islamic movement in Kurdistan gained 1.45% of the votes.



4. (C) Eleven seats in the IKP were reserved for minority
parties - five seats for Turkomen representatives, five
seats for Christians, and one seat for an Armenian. IHEC
provisional results will affect a handful of minority seats
that are hotly contested within minority groups. Our
contacts in the minority community, and more broadly among
the Kurdish opposition, complain that the Kurdish list, and
in particular elements associated with the KDP, used
bribery, manipulation, and intimidation in an effort to shape
the electoral results. (Reported septel.)



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Complaints Process


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5. (SBU) By law, IHEC is required to implement mechanisms
for receiving, reviewing and resolving complaints related
to electoral events. For the KRG Elections, IHEC
investigated 777 formal complaints submitted by qualified
Qinvestigated 777 formal complaints submitted by qualified
individuals and parties. Of these, UNAMI reports that IHEC
determined that roughly 60 of these complaints were serious
enough to materially affect the outcome of the election.
After deliberation, the IHEC Board decided to exclude
election results from 43 polling stations (less than one
percent of the total election results, and within
international best practices). The complaints were published
over a three day period. Appeals could be submitted to the
Kurdistan Electoral Judicial Panel for review. After this
process is completed, the KRG election results will be
certified and IHEC will announce the final results, probably
sometime in the last week of August.



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Comment


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6. (C) At this stage, IHEC plays a critical role in

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ensuring that the results of the KRG election are accepted
by the voters of the Kurdistan region -- and the citizens of
Iraq. So far, the consensus is that IHEC has
accomplished that task. A far more daunting set of tasks
confronts IHEC, however, as it gears up to organize the
January national elections. The initial challenge it faces
will be implementing its ambitious Voter Registration
Update (see septel.) As with the KRG elections, IHEC will
need to demonstrate that it can implement the logistics for
these elections and move forward with a clear, uniform set of
rules that will ensure results acceptable to Iraqis as
credible.
HILL