US Encourages IKR to Hold Elections Amid Political Tensions: Ambassador Romanowski

US Encourages IKR to Hold Elections Amid Political Tensions: Ambassador Romanowski

Shafaq News/ The United States backs the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR) in its pursuit for conducting a parliamentary election as soon as possible despite the ongoing political complications, Ambassador Alina Romanowski told Shafaq News Agency in an exclusive interview.

Romanowski expressed her country's firm support for a "strong, resilient, prosperous Iraqi Kurdistan Region, anchored within a federal Iraq," as the ideal means of ensuring regional stability and enhancing security, in addition to improving services for the region's inhabitants.

"The IKR cannot create this more prosperous society without better cooperation between the major political parties there," Romanowski said, emphasizing the cost borne by the Kurdish people due to the lingering disagreement among major parties.

Lauding the efforts of the United Nations envoy to Iraq, Romanowski affirmed that the US administration stands in full support of the envoy's endeavors to alleviate the tension between the major Kurdish parties and smooth the way for the IKR elections.

"Regular, free, and fair elections confer legitimacy and the consent of the governed," the ambassador asserted, illustrating her point with historic references to the US's own commitment to elections during periods of internal and external crises, such as the Civil War and both World Wars.

Deep disagreements between the two major political parties in Iraqi Kurdistan have thrown into doubt long-awaited parliamentary elections, which are set to be held in November.

The region held its last elections for the 111-seat parliament in 2018. A vote was supposed to be held last year but was postponed over differences between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

Local and international pressure to reconcile forced the two parties in March to agree on setting November 18 as the date for electing both a parliament and a president. Late last month, PUK ended its boycott of the region's cabinet meetings.

After the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam and paved the way to recognize the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in the 2005 constitution, the two parties entered a power-sharing deal that virtually ended an era of intra-Kurdish bloody conflicts.

The KDP currently holds 45 seats in parliament, trailed by the PUK, which has 21.

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