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Several Assyrian Parties to Boycott Kurdistan's Upcoming Elections
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A number of Christian political parties on Monday announced their boycott of the upcoming parliamentary elections in the Kurdistan Region in protest against Iraq's federal court's recent ruling which eliminated minority quota seats in the Kurdish legislature.

Jinan Jabbar, leader of the Chaldean National Party, read out a statement from his party and a number of other Christian parties, including the National Unity Alliance and the Chaldeal Political Board, announcing their boycott of the Kurdistan Region's June polls, during a press conference in Erbil. The statement cited a recent ruling by the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court which eliminated the 11 quota seats in the Kurdish parliament dedicated to the Region's ethnic and religious minorities it deemed as "unconstitutional," as the reason for the boycott.

Jabbar told reporters that the ruling was a "great injustice" against Christians and a "dangerous violation of the rights of the minorities."

He added that their decision to boycott the elections came after a series of fruitless meetings with the federal authorities, including the Iraqi president.

In Ainkawa, situated at the northern edge of Erbil city, residents gathered in front of the Cathedral of Saint Joseph last week to protest the "blatant injustice and the unjust decision to remove the quota seats," calling on the Baghdad court to reverse the ruling.

The court ruling is very significant for the minorities as it rules that their candidates for the Kurdistan parliament can no longer only run against other minority candidates competing for the designated quota seats, with Christian and Turkmen parties having to resort to fielding their candidates against better-funded, established Kurdish political parties.

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani has set June 10 as the new date for the Region's general elections which have been repeatedly delayed due to disputes between the Region's ruling parties on how the polls should be held and in relation to the dissolution of the Kurdish legislature after the federal court deemed its self-extension "unconstitutional."

Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako, patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, on Saturday told Rudaw that the recent court ruling to remove quota seats from the Kurdistan Region's parliament was "unconstitutional," and expressed concern about how the country's top court was making decisions.

"The ruling contradicts the law and the constitution, and does not honor prevailing customs. There are a lot of things that are not in the hands of the court," he said.

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