ERBIL, Iraq, June 22 (UPI) -- Political campaigning began Monday in the Kurdish provinces of Iraq ahead of the July vote for parliament seats, elections officials said.
The Erbil offices of the Independent High Electoral Commission of Iraq said campaigning was under way in the three Kurdish provinces -- Erbil, Dahuk and Sulaimaniya, the Voices of Iraq news agency reports.
"This morning, political blocs launched their election campaigns by putting up electoral posters," said a statement from IHEC.
In January, Iraqis took to the polls to vote for ruling councils in 14 of the 18 provinces. Parliamentary elections in the Kurdish provinces are set for July 25.
The province of Kirkuk is given special consideration as the vote there is postponed indefinitely while officials hammer out administrative disputes.
IHEC officials said there are 509 candidates from several parties and alliances competing for the 111 available seats in the Kurdish Parliament. The Christian, Armenian and Turkmen minority groups were allocated 11 seats before the vote in line with a quota system.
The Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq holds presidential elections at the same time as the parliamentary contest.
Four candidates -- Kamal Mirawdali, Hussein Garmiyani, Safeen Ahmed, and Halo Ibrahim Ahmed -- are challenging Massoud Barzani for the presidency of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq.