The Kurdistan Parliament is the democratically elected legislative assembly of the Kurdistan Region. Parliament is made up of one chamber. The main functions of parliament are:
The principles by which the Kurdistan parliament is governed are: freedom, pluralism, responsibility, openness and representation of all the people of the Kurdistan Region.
Parliament structure: the guarantee of broad representation
The Assembly is made up of 111 seats (as stipulated in Law No. 1 approved in 1992). The Kurdistan Parliament is headed by the speaker, Dr. Vala Farid, his assistant is Mr. Hemen Hawrami.
In February 2009, several amendments were made to the electoral law to include all groups in representation. The minimum age required to be a parliamentary candidate decreased from 30 to 25 years. In previous elections seats had been reserved for minority communities, the number of seats reserved for Christians and Turkmens were increased to five seats for each group. The minimum legal quota of women parliamentarians was increased from 25 to 30% of the assembly's composition.
History of the Kurdistan Parliament
The Parliament was established in 1992, in the first free and fair elections held in the Kurdistan Region and throughout Iraq.
With the aim of protecting civilians from attacks by Iraqi military forces after the 1991 Gulf War; The United States, the United Kingdom and France created a no-fly zone above the 36º latitude line, which passes through Kurdistan. On land, a security zone was established with military forces from eleven countries. These security and no-fly zones provided great support and encouragement for refugees to return home, including those who had fled in the 1970s.
Late in 1991, Saddam Hussein withdrew his troops and administration, as well as the national flag from parts of the Kurdistan Region. Saddam Hussein, to further aggravate the situation of hardship, added to the UN international blockade that weighed on Iraq, an additional internal blockade of the region, suppressing the supply of food and oil, depriving it of electricity and preventing migration to other parts. from the country.
The Kurdistan Front, in alliance with the various political groups in the Kurdistan Region and faced with the administrative vacuum and the double embargo, decided to hold general elections. The objective was to establish an administration that would provide basic public services and satisfy the basic needs of the people. The population also expressed a great desire to elect their representatives. The elections, held on May 19, 1992, were the first free and fair parliamentary elections in Iraq's history. Representation in the Assembly was established with a minimum limit of 7%. The number of people who went to the polls was very high and international observers considered that the elections had been free, fair and democratic. After decades of dictatorship, the people of Kurdistan could vote for their representatives for the first time in history.
These regional elections led to the formation of the first Kurdistan National Assembly and the establishment of the Kurdistan Regional Government. The leaders and people of the Kurdistan Region decided to remain part of Iraq and adopt and abide by all national laws except those that violate human and universal rights. On July 15, 1992, the National Assembly of Kurdistan approved Law No. 1, the first law of this assembly and which constituted it as a Legislative Assembly.
To date, there have been five parliaments formed as a result of the elections of 1992, 2005, 2009, 2013 and 2018. In 2009 the National Assembly of Kurdistan was renamed the Parliament of Kurdistan.
The parliamentary elections
Kurdistan parliament elections are called at least every 4 years (as stipulated in article 8 of the Kurdistan Electoral Law). The last parliamentary elections were held on September 30, 2018.
Any person over eighteen years of age, who has the status of citizen of the Kurdistan Region, and is on the electoral register, has the right to vote directly, universally and secretly. Kurdistan's parliamentary elections are based on a system of proportional representation with a closed party list. Voters vote for a list of candidates belonging to a party and not for an individual candidate. When the election results are announced, each party is assigned a number of parliamentary seats proportional to the number of votes obtained, and they become deputies depending on their position on the list.
Legislative capacity of the Kurdistan Parliament
As established in the Federal Constitution of Iraq, parliament has considerable autonomy to debate and approve policies in a large number of areas: health services, education and training, police and security, environment, natural resources, agriculture, housing, trade , industry and investments, services and social affairs, transport and roads, culture and tourism, sports and leisure, ancient monuments and historic buildings.
The Kurdistan parliament shares legislative power with the Iraqi federal authorities in the following areas: customs, electrical energy and its distribution, general planning, internal water resources. However, the laws passed by the Kurdistan parliament have priority (are prevalent).
Furthermore, according to Article 121 of the Federal Constitution of Iraq, the parliament of Kurdistan has the right to amend the application of those laws that are within general Iraqi laws but belong to a sphere that is not exclusive to the federal authority.
For more information about the Kurdistan Parliament, please visit the Kurdistan Parliament website. Parliament of the Kurdistan Region – Iraq