01/06/2014 - 23:00
Syria Elections: 'Kurds will not vote'

Kurdish officials in West Kurdistan (Rojava) said they will not allow the regime of Bashar al-Assad to open polling stations in the Kurdish region in the presidential elections scheduled for June 3.

"We demand official recognition for the Kurdish people. The Syrian regime has so far not recognized the legitimate rights of the Kurds as a people. We, the Kurds will not allow the holding of elections in areas controlled by the Kurds and we will not vote, "said the Movement of the Democratic Society (TEV-DEM) an umbrella platform of political parties and civil society organizations in Kurdistan.

For the Kurds, the organization of elections will give legitimacy to the regime of Bashar Al Assad. But, thanks to the Geneva meetings, the regime has obtained favours from international forces and the Syrian coalition, says Ilham Ahmad from TEV-DEM, adding: "The regime wants to gain legitimacy through presidential elections". The President of the Legislative Assembly of the Cizire (Jazeera) Canton, Hakem Kahlo, stressed that the system cannot open polling stations in Kurdish-controlled areas, except in some neighbourhoods of Qamishli and Al Hasakah, where the regime still has some presence.

In January, West Kurdistan was divided into three autonomous cantons, Cizire, Afrin and Kobani. This model includes all components of the Kurdish region, not only the Arabs, Armenians, Assyrians and Chechens, but also the different religions like Islam, Christianity, Yezidism etc The Cizire Canton adopted three official languages, Kurdish , Arabic and Syriac. An Arab and a Syriac are the vice presidents of the Canton. Women are strongly represented in the governments of these three cantons. A woman is the head of the canton of Afrin.

"The elections will bring no changes without changes in the system. The violence will not stop in these conditions. The current crisis will deepen, and if a solution is not found, there is a risk of the spread of conflict from neighbouring countries "said Ilham Ahmad.


Despite the indifference of Western governments and incessant attacks by armed groups, supported in particular by Turkey, a NATO member, West Kurdistan is currently the only stable and democratically governed region. The three cantons created in January are now the only democratic model for a future Syria. These cantons not only represent a new opportunity for European governments in order to gain the confidence of the peoples of the region, but also a chance to correct a hundreds of years old injustice against the Kurds.

On 8 May, several political parties announced the creation in Qamishli of a "Draft of a democratic Syria," to put an end to the conflict and a to offer a solution for a common life in Syria.

Among these political parties are the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the most influential party in West Kurdistan, the People's Council of Western Kurdistan, the Greens, the Left Party in Syria, the Syrian Communist Party, the Party of Liberal Union, the Democratic Party of Syria, the Party of the Democratic Left, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Syrian Kurdish Party for Peace and Democracy.

"We the Kurds have created this new project to put an end to the violence and for a democratic Syria. The main objective is to create a system where all peoples, faiths and cultures can express themselves freely, while preserving the unity of Syria", said Abdulsalam Ahmad, co-chairman of the People of West Kurdistan.

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