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Iraq: Kurdistan Islamic Union Pulls Out of Kurdistan Coalition List --> (RFE/RL) RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) reported on 24 October that the Kurdistan Islamic Union has pulled out of the Kurdistan Coalition List ahead of Iraq's December parliamentary elections. Kurdistan Islamic Union member Abd al-Rahman Siddiq Karim, who served as environment minister in Iraq's first post-Hussein cabinet --> /specials/iraqcrisis/iraq_cabinet.asp , discussed the union's plans in an interview with RFI in Irbil.

Siddiq: Many other parties have praised this step. They believe this step will lead to boosting the spirit of competition on the [political] scene of Kurdistan before running for the new Iraqi [parliament that will be officially known as the] Council of Representatives.

Regarding the two main parties [in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan], we think they know that parties are free in making their decisions, especially as the Kurdistan Islamic Union has been known for its attitudes supportive of the national attitudes of the Kurdistan people. In a statement issued on this matter, the Kurdistan Islamic Union has mentioned that it will remain shoulder to shoulder with the Kurdistan Coalition List regarding the crucial questions such as [the demands of] returning Kirkuk and other Kurdistani areas to the Kurdistan Region, and all national attitudes.

But regarding other issues, the slogan of the Kurdistan Islamic Union is "The Reform," in a reference to the noble verse [in the Koran where God is believed to say], "I desire nothing but reform so far as I am able." Time has come for us now to undertake reform in the electoral process because the electoral process is one of the pillars of democracy.

RFI: Is the Kurdistan Islamic Union likely to revise its decision if the other parties of the Kurdistan Coalition List enter negotiations with it or if they offer it, so to say, some advantages or new promises? In any case, if the decision is not changed, will you try to set up a coalition with other parties?

Siddiq: As far as I know, the parties in Kurdistan have in general made their final decisions on entering the next elections. In this respect, we have heard that many parties in Iraq's Kurdistan Region have joined the Kurdistan Coalition List. With this step taken by the Kurdistan Islamic Union, we do not encourage others to change or confirm their endeavors to join this or that coalition.

But as far as I know, the majority of ordinary members of the Kurdistan Islamic Union have thought [the matters] out and come to the verdict of launching a separate list of candidates. The opinion of the leadership of the Kurdistan Islamic Union has also been to set up a separate list of candidates. That is why I think that this decision will remain the final one.

(Translated by Petr Kubalek)