– Kurds drifting away from democracy

File photo (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/CC BY 2.0)

In an opinion piece published on, Birgit Svensson argues that Kurdistan is becoming increasingly autocratic, with repeated election postponements and weakened institutions. Qantara is a German media site that seeks to promote dialogue with the Islamic world and is funded by the German Foreign Office. Svensson argues that Kurdistan is avoiding elections, with the regional government’s mandate having expired two years ago and elections being repeatedly postponed. According to Svensson, the region is controlled by two dynasties, the Barzani clan in Erbil and Dohuk, and the Talabani clan in Sulaymaniyah, leading to an ongoing power struggle and systemic corruption. The Kurdish crisis is exacerbated by internal conflicts, economic decline, and external pressures from Baghdad and Tehran, with calls for new elections to restore legitimacy and stability. Despite this, Svensson says, western allies “remain silent” and have failed to apply sufficient pressure on the Kurdish authorities to hold elections, allowing the status quo to persist and deepening the region’s crisis.