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Published On: Mon, Jul 17th, 2017

Iraq’s Yezidi community in Nineveh formed Yezidi Democratic Party

nsnbc : Members of the Yezidi community around Shingal and Iraq’s Nineveh province formed the Yezidi Democratic Party (YDP) during its first congress in Dukhok this weekend. The newly-formed party plans to run in Iraq’s parliamentary elections next year.

Yezidi in northern Iraq_YDP_Jul 2017The YDP elected Haider Shasho as its leader. Shasho announced the founding of the party and its first congress to the press this weekend. He stressed that the invasion of predominantly Yezidi areas by ISIS in 2014 and the atrocities committed against the Yezidi community compelled them to form a party to defend them and fight for the community’s political rights. Shasho added:

“After the disaster that befell the Yezidis in Shingal I felt that the Yezidis need a party that could serve them and defend them. … At first we were a military force and as the threat of ISIS diminished we saw the need for a political party.”

 At least 500 persons, representing Yezidis and other minority groups across Iraq attended the first party congress in Dukhok. For the time being the fledgling party’s main base is in Sulaimani, but the YDP leadership have plans to open Erbil and Duhok offices, too, Shasho said. 

The Yezidi Democratic party has been approved and licensed by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and most recently by Iraq’s election commission. Shasho, who has been leading an armed group since 2014 to face off ISIS in the Shingal region, said that his party intends to run in Iraq’s 2018 parliamentary elections. 

“We will run in both Kurdistan Region and Iraqi elections,” he said. “We cannot predict the scale of votes we may get because there PUK and KDP and other parties have much following in our area, but so far most Yezidis support us.” 

Shasho also explained that the foundation of his party has been blessed by Kurdistan Region’s two main parties: The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). This means that the YDP could, despite being relatively small, become an important coalition partner. Shasho stressed that his party supports Iraq’s Kurdistan Autonomous Region, saying that Yezidi areas must remain part of the Kurdistan Region.

He called on the Kurdistan Regional Government in Erbil to include Shignal in the upcoming referendum on the independence of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region. The referendum has been scheduled for September.

CH/L – nsnbc 17.07.2017

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