Twenty four political entities, including five alliances and five personalities are participating in Kurdish parliamentary and presidency elections in Federal Kurdistan in Iraq next Saturday, 25 July 2009. According to observers, this election will be a turning point for Kurds. If the elections will end peacefully and bring new faces, it will be a turning point for Kurdish democracy in Middle East and a new era of Kurdish history will start. People hope for emerging opposition forces to enter the parliament.

Twenty four political groups, including five alliances, have declared their participation in the election, competing for 111 seats. 11 of them are reserved for ethnic and religious minorities in Kurdistan, including a seat for the small Armenian community. In total, 507 candidates have registered to compete in the elections and more than 2.5 million people have registered to vote.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) dominate the political scene in Kurdistan. Both of them had declared they would compete in the July 25 election under the unified Kurdistani List in an effort to maintain political dominance. Its candidate to presidency election is Mas’ud Barzani, the KDP leader and current president. KDP-PUK were in power since 1991.

An opposition group has emerged as the main force which wants to challenge Kurdistani List, while Islamic groups have made a coalition with two secular parties. Kuridsh society Islamic that was lead by Ali Bapir and Kurdish united Islamic that was lead by Salahadin Bahaddin, are two main Islamic parties in Kurdistan Region. They have 17 seats in Kurdistan Parliament. They will take part in the elections under the unified Service and Reform list.

On the other hand, Noshirwan Mustafa, a former deputy leader and co-founder PUK who left the organisation, is leading the Change list.

The biggest competition is among these three lists. Service and Reform list has declared that they can get more than 30 seats, while Change list leaders underscore that they may get 46 seats.

Independent observers consider that Kurdistani list may win the majority seats, Change lists may get 25-30 seats and Service and Reform – 15-20 seats.

Five candidates are competing in Kurdistan presidency elections. They are Mas’ud Barzani, Dr.Kamal Mirawdali, Dr.Hallo Ibrahim Ahmed, Safin Shex Muhemmed and Hussien Germiyani.

According to election observers and political analysts support for Mas’ud Barzani is the highest. The other candidates are new to the political arena of Kurdistan, Dr.Kamal Mirawdali was scholar and writer in UK, Dr.Hallo had a small post with in PUK, Safin Shex Muhammad was only a businesman and Hussien Germiyani was an ordinary person. (