Jan 06, 2014

Iranian Kurdistan: Representation in the Parliament Continues

In the upcoming elections 20 more seats will be added to the parliament. Nevertheless, Iran’s largest minority of Kurds will receive only one extra seat, which results in Kurds being unrepresented.  

Below is an article published by Rudaw:

Iran’s large minority Kurds continue to be underrepresented in the Iranian parliament, where out of 20 new seats that are to be added to the 290-seat Majlis only one will go to the Kurds.

The Iranian constitution stipulates that once every 10 years the number of MPs should increase, based on geographical, political and other conditions such as an increase in population.

Out of the 20 new seats expected to be added to the Majlis, only one has so far been allotted to the Kurds: The number of representatives from Kermanshah, the largest Kurdish city in Iran with a population close to one million, will increase from three to four.

Rudaw has learned from sources close to MPs from Sina (Sanandaj), Kamiaran, and Diwandara that these cities also tried to raise their allotted seats, but failed in the effort.

“Considering the political, economic, and geographical factors, the number of representatives of these three cities should be increased,” one source noted.

The population of Sina, Kamiaran, and Diwandara totals 615,871 people. The three cities are regarded as a single electoral district and are represented by two MPs.

Constitutionally, there is one representative for every 150,000 population. With this formula, the three cities are entitled to receive two new representatives.

Ilam is also trying to increase the number of its representatives. The province is divided into two electoral districts, with the northern half represented by two MPs and the southern part by one.

“There is disagreement in the province over the distribution of representative seats,” Musa Omidi, an MP of the Kurdish United Front from Ilam, told Rudaw.

The Kurds are the largest minority in Iran with an estimated eight million population, but with no legal political party inside Iran.

Many Iranian Kurds, who put their faith in Iran’s newly-elected President Hassan Rouhani and voted for him in the June elections, have expressed disappointment with his first months in office. They accuse him of not living up to campaign promises, such as appointing a vice president for minority affairs.