Iraqi parliament votes against Kurdish independence referendum

Pauline Gross
September 13, 2017

Iraq's parliament's on Tuesday voted against plans by Kurdish leaders to hold an independence referendum just two weeks before it was to be held, echoing regional criticism of the poll.

"This referendum lacks a constitutional basis and thus it is considered unconstitutional", the parliamentary resolution said, without specifying what measures the central government should take to stop Kurdistan from breaking away.

The Arab League called on the Iraqi Kurdistan to hold a dialogue with the central government before the September 25 referendum on independence.

Kurdish MPs reportedly walked out of the session before the vote and issued statements afterwards rejecting the decision.

Iran, Turkey and the Arab League, among others, are opposed to the kurdish referendum since they fear that a Yes result will provoke imbalances in the region and a renascence of terrorism.

A senior Kurdish official dismissed the vote as non-binding, although an Iraqi MP said it would be published in the official gazette after approval from the Iraqi presidency.

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"We have a genuine desire to keep the Kurds as a component of Arab society", Abul-Gheit said, urging the KRG to resolve its longstanding differences with Baghdad through dialogue. The Kurdish parties on Tuesday expressed their regret for the Iraqi parliament's decision to reject the independence referendum of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region slated for September 25.

"Kirkuk needs more stability, not tension", he added.

"The logic of the use of arms in solving problems is very unsafe in the democratic Iraq", Bukhtiyar said, adding the Kurdish parties "called for calm conditions".

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's government had previously rejected the referendum as unilateral and unconstitutional. "I called on the Kurdish leadership to come to Baghdad and talk", stated Al-Abadi.

Kurds have sought an independent state since at least the end of World War One, when colonial powers divided up the Middle East and left Kurdish-populated territory split between modern-day Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

Other reports by GizPress

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