- Title: IRAQ: IRAQI KURDS AND CHRISTIANS PREPARE FOR JANUARY 30 ELECTIONS
- Date: 21st January 2005
- Summary: (W3)KIRKUK, IRAQ (JANUARY 21, 2005) (REUTERS) 1. BUS CARRYING POSTERS OF KURDISH ELECTION CANDIDATES DRIVING AROUND CITY 0.07 2. CLOSE OF POSTERS AND KURDISH FLAG ON BUS 0.10 3. BUS BEING DRIVEN IN STREET 0.25 4. SV/MV: CHILDREN STANDING NEXT TO CAR BEING USED AS PART OF KURDISH GROUP CAMPAIGN (2 SHOTS) 0.34 5. PEOPLE SETTING UP ELECTION CAMPAIGN POSTERS FOR THE KURDISTAN ALLIANCE GROUP, WHICH INCLUDES JALA TALABANI'S PATRIOTIC UNION OF KURDISTAN AND MASSOUD BARAZANI'S KURDISTAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY 0.40 6. (SOUNDBITE) (Kurdish) DR.MOHAMMED JOBARI, KURDISH UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR AND POLITICAL ANALYST IN KIRKUK, SAYING: "I see that the Kurdish participation in these elections, even though it is not complete, as important. If the demands of Kirkuk are fulfilled, especially Resolution 58, which is the return of refugees to their land and work in Kirkuk, then their participation will have a positive impact (on the Kurds)." 1.25 7. VARIOUS OF WOMEN WORKING AT KURDISH POLLING STATION 1.32 8. VARIOUS OF EMPLOYEES REGISTERING VOTERS (2 SHOTS) 1.43 9. PEOPLE GATHERED OUTSIDE CAMPAIGN OFFICE/ POSTER READING: 'KURDISTAN ALLIANCE IN IRAQ - 130' 1.48 10. VARIOUS OF PEOPLE OUTSIDE OFFICE 1.55 11. (SOUNDBITE) (Kurdish) CHERZAD, A KIRKUK RESIDENT, SAYING: "These elections are not only important for the Kurds but to everyone who believes in freedom, democracy, and human rights. The day of elections is a day of freedom, it will unite all sides, especially in Kirkuk." 2.11 12. CLOSE OF POSTER OF LATE PROMINENT KURDISH POET, AHMEDI KHANI 2.17 13. WIDE OF STREET/ PORTRAIT IN BACKGROUND 2.22 14. (SOUNDBITE) (Kurdish) OSAMA, ANOTHER RESIDENT OF KIRKUK, SAYING: "We will gain democracy by gaining seats in the parliament. We will participate will pleasure." 2.36 15. VARIOUS OF ELDERLY KURDS SITTING OUTSIDE COFFEE SHOP (3 SHOTS) 2.56 (W3)BAGHDAD, IRAQ (JANUARY 22, 2005) (REUTERS) 16. CLOSE OF CROSS ON TOP CHURCH TOWER/ AUDIO OF CHURCH BELLS 3.01 17. EXTERIOR OF CHURCH/ AUDIO OF CHURCH BELLS 3.06 18. IRAQI CHRISTIANS ARRIVING AT CHURCH FOR MASS 3.15 19. CLOSE OF PRIEST CONDUCTING MASS 3.22 20. VARIOUS OF WORSHIPPERS AT CHURCH (2 SHOTS) 3.33 21. YONADAM KANNA, HEAD OF THE ASSYRIAN DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT 3.38 22. YONADAM KANNA, HEAD OF THE ASSYRIAN DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT 3.42 23. (SOUNDBITE) (English) YONADAM KANNA, HEAD OF THE ASSYRIAN DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT, SAYING: "In my opinion, maybe we will not get fair results. Even 50% of our loss (Christian votes) will be from that: security in Baghdad city and Mosul, plus never agreed to have election polls in the United States in the proper locations." 3.59 (W3)BAGHDAD, (FILE AUGUST 2004) (REUTERS) 24. VARIOUS OF SMOKE RISING OVER CHURCH WHICH WAS HIT IN A SERIES OF CHURCH SUICIDE BOMBINGS THAT KILLED AT LEAST TWELVE PEOPLE 4.12 25. VARIOUS OF PEOPLE RUNNING IN STREET FOLLOWING BOMBING 4.19 (W3)BAGHDAD, IRAQ (JANUARY 22, 2005) (REUTERS) 26. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) IMAN VICTOR, CHRISTIAN IRAQI, SAYING: "Whoever will rule Iraq should do so, but he needs to be a good and honest person, who loves Iraq, who is fair. We need a fair leader who can feel the pain of birth giving, someone who can wake Iraq up from this sleep - whoever he is, a Sunni, a Shiite." (2 SHOTS) 4.40 27. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) NIDAL YARDA, CHRISTIAN IRAQI, SAYING: "All Iraqis are on the same level (facing the same problems), so whoever says anything different is wrong. We want peace and security in this country. We need an end to this chaos. We will welcome whoever wins in the elections." 4.59 28. VARIOUS OF CHURCH CHOIR (2 SHOTS) 5.10 29. VARIOUS OF PRIEST GIVING PEOPLE HOLY COMMUNION (2 SHOTS) 5.20 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 5th February 2005 12:00
- Location: BAGHDAD AND KIRKUK, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Reuters ID: LVA5QQ6BDBQ27ZU5BZ9GH5258THL
- Story Text: Election hopes motivate Iraq's minorities.
In the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk Iraqi Kurds are
stepping up their campaign for the country's first
elections since the fall of Saddam Hussein, driven by a
long awaited dream of an independent Kurdish state.
Posters of candidates are hanging on public buses,
cars, billboards and political banners in preparations for
next week's elections, which Kurds see as being a first
step in a process which could eventually lead to their
autonomy after decades of struggle for self rule.
Loudspeakers mounted on cars blare out political
speeches and patriotic music through the streets of the
oil-rich city. Kirkuk is an ethnically mixed city which has
become a scene of frequent outbreaks of ethnic violence as
Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen fight to show their dominance in
The Kurdish vote is seen as crucial in the upcoming
elections and the Kurdish leaders are seizing the political
moment to reopen the explosive issue of rejoining Kirkuk to
The two main Kurdish parties, the Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP),
which initially threatened to boycott the elections, have
set aside their past feuding and are fighting the elections
together to try to consolidate Kurdish autonomy within a
Dr.Mohammed Jobari, a political analyst and university
professor in Kirkuk said the elections could help Kurds
displaced during former Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein's
regime to return to their homes.
"I see that the Kurdish participation in these
elections, even though it is not complete, as important. If
the demands of Kirkuk are fulfilled, especially Resolution
58, which is the return of refugees to their land and work
in Kirkuk, then their participation will have a positive
impact (on the Kurds)."
Many of Kirkuk's residents were driven out when Saddam
pursued a policy of "Arabisation" in April 2003 and
replaced them with Arabs from other areas. Kurdish
officials say 100,000 displaced Kurds are living in tents
on the outskirts of the city since the end of the war
waiting to see if they will get homes and land as
reparation for their expulsion.
The question of who should be allowed to vote in
Kirkuk, has caused bitter arguments ahead of the polls and
raised calls for a delay of the elections until the city's
original ethnic makeup is restored and then a referendum on
the fate of Kirkuk.
Many Kurds regard Kirkuk as a Kurdish city and have
remained vague on whether they will demand it to be part of
a federal region they hope to be enshrined in the new
"We will gain democracy by gaining seats in the
parliament. We will participate with pleasure" said Osama,
an Iraqi Kurd from Kirkuk.
But more Arab participation lessens Kurdish chances of
victory in the elections for a provincial council for the
ethnically mixed city. It remains to be seen whether the
Kurds or any of Iraq's groups will honour the election
results if they do not grant them the results they have
Iraqi Christians will also participate in the vote.
They are hopeful even with the chaos that has left Iraqis
of all religions feeling frightened.
Despite numerous church bombings, church bells are
still heard across Baghdad, where a large number of
But unlike Kurds, who are actively campaigning for the
ballot, Iraqi Christians are keeping a low profile ahead of
the elections, aware of the precariousness of their
position in a country dominated by Sunni and Shi'ite Muslim
Arabs and Kurds.
The two political groups, the Assyrian Democratic
Movement and the Chaldean National Council, that have
formed an electoral alliance know that their vote will be
small and their power limited.
With Iraq's government struggling to stop the
bombings, murders and kidnappings that have left nothing
sacred, Christians say the size of their community makes
them feel particularly vulnerable.
Many Iraqi Christians have left Iraq after church
bombings in Baghdad and Mosul in recent months in which
dozens of people were wounded or killed.
Yonadam Kanna, the head of the Assyrian Democratic
Movement, says his party will face certain problems in the
country's national ballot: namely, the security situation
in Baghdad and Mosul, also the number of the Christian
voters fleeing the country and the inadequate polling
stations for voters abroad.
"In my opinion, maybe we will not get fair results.
Even 50 percent of our loss (of Christian votes) will be
from that: security in Baghdad city and Mosul, plus never
agreed to have election polls in the United States in the
proper locations" Kanna said.
A large number of Christians have moved to the West
where they were reunited with their relatives in countries
with large Iraqi communities like Australia, U.S.A., Canada
Some Iraqi expatriates, among them Christians, have
complained of having to travel long distances to register
in the United States and elsewhere, Kanna added.
But those who are staying in Iraq are keen on being
part of the new government. Their prime concern, like many
other Iraqis is an end to the violence and chaos that have
plagued the country since the end of the war.
"We need a fair leader who can feel the pain of birth
giving, someone who can wake Iraq up from this sleep -
whoever he is, a Sunni, a Shiite" said Iman Victor, a
Christian Iraqi living in Baghdad.
Even before churches became targets, attacks on liquor
stores, music shops and hairdressers were common.
But some Christians, proud of their roots in Iraq
which long pre-date the seventh century arrival of Islam,
are determined to find their place in the new system.
"All Iraqis are on the same level (facing the same
problems), so whoever says anything different is wrong. We
want peace and security in this country" said Nidal Yarda.
"We need an end to this chaos. We will welcome whoever
wins in the elections."
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