Iraqi Federal Court nullifies 'unconstitutional' Kurdish referendum

Pauline Gross
November 22, 2017

Outraged by the results, Baghdad deemed the September vote as "illegal" and demanded the Kurds annul its results before any negotiations between the two sides. Although the results were non-binding the election prompted the Iraqi government to send troops to Kurdistan to take control of disputed territory.

Turkish Foreign Ministry on Tuesday welcomed the decision by the Federal Supreme Court of Iraq, which on Monday ruled the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) referendum "unconstitutional".

The court had already ruled on November 6 that no region or province can secede and the Kurdistan Regional Government said last week it would respect that verdict.

The federal court is responsible for settling disputes between Iraq's central government and the country's regions and provinces, including northern Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region. The verdict can not be appealed.

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"We call on everyone to respect the constitution and to act under its roof in resolving all controversial issues and avoid taking any step contrary to the constitution and the law", a statement by Abadi's office said following the court's decision. On Monday, the court again cited this article in its ruling, saying that the holding of the Kurdish independence referendum "contradicts and contravenes it", its spokesman Ayas al-Samuk said in the statement.

Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani complained that the Kurdish Regional Government was not allowed to give any input in the decision. It also said it respected a previous decision on Article 1 in the constitution insisting on Iraqi unity, which could be a basis for dialogue.

Mr Barzani, speaking at a news conference in Erbil, said that Baghdad's non adherence to the constitution led Kurdistan to hold referendum on independence. He also said he was "ready for dialogue" with Baghdad.

Last month, the UN Security Council urged the Iraqi government and regional leaders in Kurdistan to set a timetable for talks to end the crisis.

Other reports by GizPress

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