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Both Major Parties Cry Fraud in Iraqi Kurdish Election


A Kurdish woman casts her vote at a polling station during parliamentary elections in the semi-autonomous region in Erbil, Iraq, Sept. 30, 2018.

The two major political parties in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region are crying fraud after Sunday's parliamentary election, with one saying it will refuse to accept the results.

Nearly 800 candidates were vying for 111 seats. Turnout is reported to have been modest even as Iraqi Kurds try to reassert their autonomy after a crackdown from Baghdad.

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), one of the major political parties, tells VOA it will not accept the results of Sunday's vote.

A Kurdish woman carries her baby while voting at a polling station during parliamentary elections in Sulaimaniah, Iraq, September 30, 2018. (Photo: R Majeed/VOA/Kurdish)
A Kurdish woman carries her baby while voting at a polling station during parliamentary elections in Sulaimaniah, Iraq, September 30, 2018. (Photo: R Majeed/VOA/Kurdish)

PUK spokesman Saadi Ahmed Pira charges the party's chief political rival, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), of election fraud in two provinces under KDP control.

Pira did not give specifics but said the PUK is demanding an investigation.

Meanwhile, KDP spokesman Khosrow Goran, who also spoke to VOA, countercharged that the PUK was behind election fraud in two cities. He also gave no details.

An election commission official says no party has the authority to reject results and said only the commission can do that.

Many Iraqi Kurds want an independent state and hoped their major role in fighting Islamic State terrorists as part of the U.S.-led coalition would help them toward that goal.

But the central Iraqi government declared last year's independence referendum was illegal. It sent Iraqi forces into the region and pushed Kurds out of the oil fields that are vital to the Kurdish economy.

Baghdad also imposed other economic penalties on Kurdistan and cut the region's share of the federal budget.

VOA's Kurdish Service contributed to this report.

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