Iraqi Kurdistan’s main opposition party has come in second in the autonomous region’s parliamentary election, according to preliminary results on Saturday that left the shape of the government still unclear a week after the vote. The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) share power in the previous cabinet with a combined 59 out of 111 parliamentary seats, having fought out their rivalries in a civil war during the 1990s. But from its genesis ahead of the last election in 2009, the Gorran (Change) party has rapidly built a following among those disenchanted with corruption and the lack of transparency, particularly around revenues from the region’s oil.
“They (the results) show that Gorran was not a fad,” said a source in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on condition of anonymity. “It clearly strikes a chord with a significant chunk of the population, so it won’t be easy for the PUK and KDP to ignore them.”
With 95 percent of the votes from the Sept. 21 election counted, the KDP had 719,004 votes, Gorran had 446,095 and the PUK was in third place with 323,827.
Two Islamic parties placed fourth and fifth, with nearly 300,000 votes between them, followed by more than a dozen smaller groups.