As was announced in Iraqi Kurdistan, parliamentary elections will soon take place there. As RIA Novosti reports, the Iraqi newspaper Babil reported about this on Wednesday. A preparation committee for holding the new elections, scheduled for July 2003, has been set up in the parliament of Kurdistan. It consists of representatives of the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), which possesses fifty-one percent of the seats in the Kurdish parliament, of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) - forty-eight percent, and of representatives of the Assyrian party which expresses the interests of the Christians living in the north of Iraq - one percent.
The work of the Kurdish parliament was interrupted in June 1996 due to differences between the KDP (leader - Masoud Barzani) and the PUK (leader - Jalal Talbani) which grew into armed clashes. For the first time after those events the parliament, recreated "on a provisional basis," could meet only at the beginning of October, this year, after the leaders of the KDP and PUK signed a number of agreements on settling their relations.
The task of the "provisional parliament" today is to normalise the situation and establish "an atmosphere of quietness," to open missions of the two parties, conflicting in the past, in the territories of each other, to free the prisoners-of-war and, finally, to start preparations for the parliamentary elections.
The mountainous and almost inaccessible northern part of Iraq, inhabited by Kurds, has been actually an autonomous region since 1991. The Baghdad authority does not affect it. The territories bordering on Turkey are controlled by the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), and the area adjoining Iran - by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).