2017 Northern Syria local elections
Regions of the DFNS where elections took place are in dark red
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politics and government of
Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria
The first local elections in the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria were held on 22 September 2017. Representatives of 3,700 communes in the regions of the Northern Syria Federation are to be selected in the election, involving 12,421 candidates. The communal elections on 22 September were followed by elections of local councils in December and a federal parliamentary election of the People's Democratic Council, the region's highest governing body in 2018. Several areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces are excluded from the election, including the cities of Manbij and Raqqa.
Between 27 and 28 July 2017, a conference of the Syrian Democratic Council was held in the town of Rmelan. During the conference, the system of 3 cantons in northern Syria was changed to 3 federal regions, which are the Jazira Region, the Euphrates Region, and the Afrin Region, which includes the Shahba Canton. Dates of planned elections were also devised during the meeting, with 22 September being the date for communal elections, 3 November for municipal elections, and 19 January 2018 for the People's Assembly of Federal Regions and the People's Democratic Council, the highest governing body for the Federation of Northern Syria. Officials who organized the elections included Hediya Yousef and Îlham Ehmed, two senior officials in the government of the de facto federal region.
The election was chiefly organized by the High Electoral Commission (Arabic: المفوضية العليا للانتخابات; Kurdish: Komseriya Bilind Ya Hilbijartinan; Classical Syriac: ܦܩܝܕܳܝܘܬ݂ܐ ܥܠܝܬܐ ܕܓܘܒܳܝ̈ܐ) of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria which launched a promotional campaign in order to encourage voting in the election which included online promotional advertisement on Facebook and Twitter and the release of a promotional song in Kurdish, Arabic and Syriac for the election.
It was reported that al-Ghamar Arabs (lit. "Arabs of the Flood"), that were settled by the regime in the Hasakah Governorate in the 60s and 70s on appropriated (mostly Kurdish owned) land, would be allowed to participate in these communal elections and the coming regional elections to establish local services for them, but they would not be allowed to participate in the third round in January 2018 to elect the Syrian Democratic Council because of their special status. The cities of Manbij and Raqqa were excluded, as they have local councils independent from the Northern Syria Federation, and Raqqa was only fully captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces on 22 September 2017, the date of the first local elections. Both men and women are involved in the elections, with the SDC planning to have women hold 50% of positions.
Security during the elections was maintained by the Asayish police, the Anti-Terror Forces (HAT) and the Society Protection Forces (HPC). In cities and towns with Assyrian populations, such as Qamishli, the Sutoro police also provided security during the elections.
728,450 votes representing 70% of eligible voters were reported to have been cast in total, with 437,142 from the Jazira Region, 135,611 from the Euphrates Region and 155,697 from the Afrin Region.
Recognition, support, and opposition
The Raqqa Civil Council and leaders of 5 tribes in and around Raqqa announced their support for the elections.
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