Sunday, July 19, 2009

Candidate says competition for Kurdistan presidential elections unfair

Kamal Merawadli, 58 is a Kurdish academic who returned from a long stay in the UK to compete in Kurdistan first presidential election. In an interview with al-Sharq al-Awsat he describes some of the obstacle that he, as an independent candidate is facing.
“without exaggeration, I got only 1% of my chances for an electoral campaign. For example, the Electoral Commission allocated $37 million for the elections. In addition, there is the annual region’s presidential budget of $61 million. This budget if for the president to spend as he deems appropriate. By contrast, I did not get a single dollar to fund my campaign. So I relied on my personal savings, which is a mere $70,000. I was there not able to appoint a single person to monitor the elections in Sulaymaniyah, where I would ideally need 2,500 monitors”.

Merawadli also claims that the Kurdish media would not give him air time, even if he had the money to purchase it.

“I was denied access to the media. Not one media network would give five minutes to present my electoral program, even though I tried to purchase a half hour to do so. Their excuse was that they only publicize the programs of slates participating in the parliamentary elections, not those of presidential candidates”

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