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Iraq: Kirkuk Official On Election Prospects --> Turkomans in Kirkuk post an election poster (AFP) RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) interviewed Kirkuk Deputy Governor for Resettlement and Compensation Hasib Rozhbayani in Kirkuk on 11 November to ask him about his expectations for December's National Assembly elections.

Rozhbayani: There is no doubt that these elections will be crucial and decisive because the Iraqi people and the people of Kurdistan have successfully approved the permanent constitution of Iraq. This is definitely a great victory. Also, it was a good step for consensus when Sunni Arabs joined the Iraqi [political] scene. They form a particular side with some human [features]. In terms of democracy, it is necessary to give a chance to those Sunni Arab brothers who are far away from the remnants of the former regime, those who have any chauvinistic or dictatorial tendencies, and the [Ba'athi] mentality. Those must for sure have a complete freedom to chose and vote for their delegates in the next parliament on 15 December.

The atmosphere and the proportional representation will undoubtedly change [after the elections]. [After] the previous elections of 30 January, three main blocs emerged. This time I expect there will be four main blocs and some other smaller groupings. Among the big blocs, the three old ones [i.e. the United Iraqi Alliance, the Kurdistan Coalition List, and the Iraqi List currently called the Iraqi National List] will be joined by Sunni Arabs.

I hope the triumph of the new constitution will be confirmed through a triumph of the upcoming elections. I hope that parties from Kurdistan will have a big [role] in winning the votes of those who have called for democracy, federalism, freedom, and civil society. With respect to Kirkuk and the Kurdistan Region, I hope we will put forth an effort [in support of] the solidarity of all parties in Kurdistan so that they clearly demonstrate the great importance of these upcoming elections.

(Translated by Petr Kubalek)

RFE/RL Iraq Report

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