SULAYMANIYAH, Iraq, July 26 (UPI) -- A surprisingly strong election showing by an opposition party in northern Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region has rearranged its politics, officials say.
The opposition Goran, or Change List, claimed Sunday it was leading the parliamentary polling over the two ruling coalition parties in the key city of Sulaymaniyah as well as in other bellwether areas of Irbil province, The New York Times reported.
The election results were "surprising," Barham Salih, the ruling parties' candidate for prime minister of the Kurdish region, told the newspaper, adding, "Early results from some of the locations in Sulaymaniyah and some in Irbil are not good. It's anxious moments. We will see."
"It will certainly change the political landscape in Kurdistan," Hiwa Osman, an editor and former spokesman for Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. "However many seats Change gets, Kurdish politics have changed. It heralds a new era that's going to dictate its own logic."
Change List alleged voting irregularities, the Voice of America reported. It quoted Al-Sumariyah TV as saying the complaints included coercion of voters by ruling-coalition party officials and the exclusion of certain voters from electoral lists.