Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament

Kurdistan Parliament
Perlemanî Kurdistan
پەرلەمانی كوردستان
Speaker of Parliament
Yousif Muhammed, Gorran Movement,
Since April 28, 2014
Deputy Speaker of Parliament
Jaafar Emniki, KDP
Since April 28, 2014
Seats 111 Seats in the Assembly
Current Structure of the Kurdish Regional Assembly
Political groups

Parties Represented in Parliament

  •      KDP (38)
  •      Gorran (24)
  •      PUK (18)
  •      Yekgirtû (10)
  •      KIK (6)
  •      Others (4)
  •      Reserved for minorities (11)
Last election
21 September 2013
Meeting place
KRG Parliament Building
Official website
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Iraqi Kurdistan

The Kurdistan Parliament[1] (Kurdish: پەرلەمانی كوردستان or simply Perleman (Parliament), Arabic: المجلس الوطني لكوردستان), also called the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament (IKP), is the parliament of Iraqi Kurdistan. It is made up of representatives from the various parties, lists or slates that are elected every four years by the inhabitants of the provinces of Iraqi Kurdistan currently governed by the Kurdistan Regional Government. Prior to the Kurdistan Election Law passed in March 2009, the body was referred to as the Kurdistan National Assembly.[1][2]

The IKP is a 111-member unicameral body in which 11 seats are reserved for non-Kurdish minority communities of the Iraqi Kurdistan region. The IKP building is located in Erbil, the official capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan region.[3]

The IKP holds two sessions per year, each covering a span of four months out of the year. The IKP works by committees that focus on certain areas such as legal affairs, education and higher education, finance and economy, or relations and culture. Laws proposals and bills are initiated via the Regional Council of Ministries or at least by the endorsement of ten individual members of parliament in order to voted on and eventually passed to the president of the Iraqi Kurdistan region.[4]

Since its formation, the IKP has passed several important laws relating to administration, political parties, the press, the economy, culture, and society.

Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament

Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament (IKP) is the Kurdistan Region’s democratically elected parliament. The KNA consists of one elected chamber.

Functions of the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament

The three main functions of the IKP are to examine proposals for new law, to scrutinise government policy and administration, and to debate the major issues of the day.

The founding principles of the IKP are liberty, pluralism, accountability, openness and the representation of all peoples in the Kurdistan Region.

History of the Assembly

To protect civilians from attacks by Iraqi military forces following the 1991 Gulf War, the US, UK and France initiated a no-fly zone above the 36th line of latitude which cuts across Kurdistan. On the ground, a security zone was established by military forces from eleven countries. These no-fly and security zones strongly supported and encouraged refugees, including those who had left in the 1970s, to return to their homes.

Later in 1991, Saddam Hussein withdrew his forces and his administration, including the national flag, from parts of the Kurdistan Region. Compounding the hardship caused by an international UN embargo on Iraq, Saddam Hussein enforced an additional internal embargo on the region that stopped food and fuel supplies, disconnected electrical power and prevented the movement of people to other parts of the country.

Faced with the administrative vacuum and double embargo, the Kurdistan Front, an alliance of diverse political groups in Iraqi Kurdistan, decided to hold a general election. Their goal was to establish an administration to provide for essential public services and to meet the basic needs of the people. The population also expressed a strong desire to choose its representatives. The election, held on 19 May 1992, was the first free and fair parliamentary election in the history of Iraq. Voter turnout was very high and the elections were deemed to be free, fair, and democratic by international observers. After decades of dictatorship, the people in Kurdistan were able to vote for their representatives.

This regional election led to the formation of the first Kurdistan National Assembly (later Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament) and the establishment of the Kurdistan Regional Government. The leadership and the people of the Iraqi Kurdistan region decided to remain part of Iraq, and to adopt and abide by all national laws except for those that violated human and universal rights.

By 15 July 1992, the Kurdistan National Assembly had convened. Law No. 1, the first law passed by the assembly, established it as the Region’s legislature.


The first election for the Kurdistan National Assembly (later Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament-IKP) was held in 1992. No elections were then held for the next 13 years until the 2005 elections which coincided with the election of the Iraqi Interim Government and election of governorate councils. Under Article 8 of the Kurdistan Electoral Law, elections must be held every four years and the last election was held in September 2013.

Anyone aged 18 or over who is a citizen of the Kurdistan Region and is on the electoral register is eligible to vote in a direct, universal and secret ballot. Elections for the IKP are based on a closed party-list proportional representation system. Electors vote for a party’s list of candidates, rather for an individual candidate. After the election results are announced, each party is allocated seats in proportion to the number of votes it received, using the ranking order of candidates on its list.

In the 2005 elections, representation of ethnic minorities was ensured by a rule that stated if no party or person representing a minority (such as Turkmen or Assyrians) gained a seat, one seat will be allocated to a party or person representing that minority. In 2009 this was achieved using reserved seats.

Structure of the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament

There are 111 seats in the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament (as stipulated in Law No. 1 passed by the KNA in 1992). Currently, women hold 39 seats.[5] The legal requirement is that at least 30% of the parliamentarians are women (according to IKP Law No. 1, Article 22 amended in Article 10 of Law no. 47 for 2004, third amendement of Law no.1 for 1992).

The IKP is led by the Speaker, Dr. Kemal Kerkuki, who is assisted in his duties by the Deputy Speaker, Dr. Arslan Bayez.

Eleven seats have been allocated to represent the Assyrian, Armenian, and Turkmen minority communities in the KRG-administered provinces.[6]

Powers of the Kurdistan National Assembly

As provided in the federal constitution of Iraq, the KNA has considerable power to debate and legislate on policy in a wide range of areas. It has a number of committees which work on the following areas:

The KNA shares legislative power with the federal authorities in these areas, but priority is given to the KNA’s laws. In addition, under Article 121 of the Iraqi federal constitution, the KNA has the right to amend the application of Iraq-wide legislation that falls outside of the federal authorities’ exclusive powers.

Landmark legislation passed by the Kurdistan National Assembly

The KNA has passed several laws that have contributed to the Region’s social and economic progress. These include: passing a modern and open investment law; ¬ significantly increasing the prison sentence for those committing so-called honour killings, which were previously given minimum sentences. Other legislation and issues that the KNA is considering are: a petroleum law for the Kurdistan Region, which has been drafted and is being debated; ¬ a constitution for the Kurdistan Region; the KNA has established a committee to look into this and produce a draft; ¬ limits to or a ban on the practice of polygamy. Members of the Kurdistan National Assembly In the current parliament elected on 30 January 2005, one member is independent and the others represent 14 different political parties, including Turkmen, Assyrian parties. Three members of the KNA are Yezidis belonging to different political parties. [1] The formula for the allocation of seats is based on a first calculation using a simple quota (Hare quota), and subsequent calculations using the largest remainders. [2] These powers are granted in the federal constitution of Iraq, articles 114, 115, 117, 120, 121, 126 and 141. Members of the Kurdistan National Assembly Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq Regulation 14/2005 on the KNA elections

Current composition

Summary of the 2013 election for the Kurdistan Parliament
Party Seats
Regular seats
Kurdistan Democratic Party 38
Movement for Change 24
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan 18
Kurdistan Islamic Union 10
Islamic Group in Kurdistan 6
Islamic Movement of Kurdistan 1
Kurdistan Socialist Democratic Party 1
Kurdistan Communist Party – Iraq 1
Kurdistan Toilers' Party 1
Seats reserved for Turkmen
Turkmen Development List 2
Erbil Turkmen 1
Turkmen Change and Renewal 1
Iraqi Turkmen Front 1
Seats reserved for Assyrians
Assyrian Democratic Movement 2
Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Popular Council 2
Sons of Mesopotamia 1
Seat reserved for Armenians
Berunt Nissan Markos 1

See also


  1. 1 2 "The Kurdistan Parliament". Kurdistan Regional Government. 30 November 2006. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
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