"THE FIGHT ABOUT BARACK'S DEADLY GAS IS NOT A GAME!" THUNDERED U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY BEFORE QUICKLY ALSO TWEETING IT.
KERRY AGAIN REFERRED TO THE SEPTEMBER 13TH INCIDENT INVOLVING BARRY O AND THE AMIR OF KUWAIT (HIS HIGHNESS SHAYKH SABAH AL-AHMAD AL-JABER AL SABAH) IN WHICH GAS WAS PASSED,
KERRY DECLARED TODAY, "THE AMIR IS STILL SHAKEN. THE SMELL HAUNTS HIM AND HE NOW TREMBLES IN ANY ROOM WHICH DOES NOT HAVE AN OPEN WINDOW! IS THIS WHAT WE WANT FOR OUR CHILDREN! FOR THE WORLD!"
JOHN KERRY THEN RIPPED OFF HIS TIE, JACKET, SHIRT AND PANTS AND, STANDING ONLY IN A DIRTY PAIR OF GRANDPA DRAWERS, CLAPPED HIS HANDS WHILE REPEATEDLY SHOUTING "BACK IT UP! BACK IT UP!" AND ATTEMPTING TO GRIND ON THE PRESS CORPS.
SENSING SOMETHING WAS WRONG, KERRY STOPPED AND ASKED, "IS TWERKING NOT COOL ANYMORE? I CAN ALSO POP AND LOCK. OR DO THE RUNNING MAN."
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Of course, the US State Dept and White House have said nothing on the violence but they still haven't made time to even issue a statement congratulating the KRG on Saturday's elections. Prashant Rao went to the KRG to cover the elections for AFP. His latest Tweet on the election:
While the State Dept and White House remain silent, UNAMI issued their statement on Saturday:
“I want to congratulate the people of the Kurdistan region for their participation and their contribution to the democratic process,” DSRSG said, adding that he was particularly pleased with the high turnout and the peaceful and non-violent nature of the polling.
Mr. Busztin commended the professionalism of IHEC in carrying out the elections after visiting a number of polling centres in Erbil and welcomed the work of the High Electoral Security Committee (HESC) in assuring safe conditions for voting.
“Today’s orderly polling is an encouraging sign for the long overdue upcoming Governorate Council Elections on 21 November,” he concluded.
Saturday, 1,129 candidates competed for 111 seats and over a million people voted in Erbil, Sulaimaniya and Dahuk. The voting took place without serious incident.
KRG Prime Minister Nechervan Barzani and his wife Nabila Barzani (pictured below) were among the first to vote in Erbil Saturday morning. Saturday, Jamal Hashim and Liang Youchang (Xinhua) quoted Nechirvan Barzani stating, "Today is a historic day for the Kurdish people and we have taken another step in the region to promote democracy. The people of Kurdistan are the only winners in these elections." Sunday, KRG President Massoud Barzani issued a statement congratulating the KRG citizens on their participation in Saturday's vote and the peaceful process which he hailed as a victory for the region and for the people. He called for peace and harmony as well as respect for the official results which the Independent High Electoral Commission is supposed to announce shortly.
Let's note some other voices. Here's a collection of Tweets on the election from the last 3 hours:
In "The KRG elections" Sunday, Jim and I discussed the elections:
Jim: Right. But to me the more interesting thing was the KDP's success.
C.I.: Why is that?
Jim: The press has said repeatedly that Massoud Barzani has overstepped his bounds, that he's unpopular, etc. And you've argued differently for two years now. If you were wrong, KDP wouldn't be in the lead.
C.I.: I don't know where the nonsense on Barzani got started. He's very popular. The press has always insisted that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is popular. He's also a Kurd -- like Barzani -- and he heads what had been the other dominant party, the Patriotic Union Kurdistan.
Jim: That's right. Going into this election, it was a two party race. The PUK and the KDP were the dominant political parties in the KRG -- like the Democrats and the Republicans in the US. With the results of Saturday's elections, that has now changed.
C.I.: Right. Gorran is now one of the two dominant parties.
Jim: But back to Barzani. The press, Joel Wing and so many others kept insisting that Barzani was passe, over, loathed, etc. But his party got the most votes.
C.I.: Well, first of all, he's the head of the party. Voters voted for the party. I don't know that you can extrapolate that he's very popular just from the results of this election. But I do think that if he was as unpopular as many in the press have tried to pretend. If he were, I would argue, he would have dragged the KDP down and they would not have won the most votes.
This is Rudaw's count/projection for the votes:
KDP 38.7 % | 726,876
Gorran 23.26 % | 436,825
PUK 16.84 % | 316,248
Yekgrtu 10.1 % | 189,638
Komall 6.52 % | 122,500
Other 4.59 % | 86,199
Ma'ad Fayad (Asharq Al-Awsat) reports today:
The Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) announced that approximately 73.9 percent of the autonomous region’s population turned out to vote, with Duhok recording the highest turnout at 76 percent. Approximately 2.88 million people were eligible to vote.
The UN secretary-general’s special representative for Iraq, George Boston, praised Kurdistan’s high voter turnout.
Meanwhile, exit polls showed that the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), led by KRG president Massoud Barzani, will likely secure the most votes. They are followed by Nawshirwan Mustafa’s Gorran Party (Movement for Change), and then the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the party of Iraqi president Jalal Talabani.
World Bulletin notes the consensus that exit polling is accurate:
According to the report, political observers agreed with the exit polls, expecting the KRG to win between 42 and 45 seats in the parliament. They also expected the KRG to secure the Erbil and Duhok constituencies.
Nawshirwan Mustafa, the leader of the opposition Gorran (Movement for Change), expressed hope that the elections would be a good start to a new political phase in Kurdistan. He expressed his hope of building a new and fair democratic system in Kurdistan, adding, “I hope the elections pass quietly and that their results come to fulfil all people’s expectations.”
With final results from Saturday’s parliamentary elections in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region still to come, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) has accepted defeat.
“Though we still have to wait to see the final results of the election, we are made anxious by the initial results,” read a statement that followed a meeting Sunday of the PUK’s political bureau.
“The early results conflict with the PUK’s history of struggle, yet we accept the results,” the party said after the meeting, which was headed by deputy secretary general Kosrat Rasul.
The results so far show that the PUK is behind Gorran by around a quarter million votes in Sulaimani.
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