Iraqi Kurdish parliament votes to hold independence referendum

Kurdish men march in support of the independence referendum carrying

Kurdish men march in support of the independence referendum carrying

On Thursday, the Kurdish regional government said it had received an alternative plan for the referendum on independence in Kurdistan on September 25.

Iraqi Kurdish Parliament has voted to back an independence referendum in the face of opposition from across the globe.

The White House urged the KRG to "enter into serious and sustained dialogue with Baghdad", over the issue.

The parliament session was the first held since the legislature was suspended almost two years ago, though only 68 of 111 lawmakers attended due to a boycott by the main opposition movement Gorran.

"Holding the referendum in disputed areas is particularly provocative and destabilizing". The President of the autonomous Iraqi Kurdish Region, Masoud Barzani, brushed aside demands for postponement last month saying it was "absolutely impossible".

Kurdish leaders have come under increasing pressure from key ally the United States, as well as neighboring Turkey and Iran, to call off the vote fearing it could plunge the region into greater instability as the fight against the Islamic State group grinds to a close.


Kurds across the Kurdistan Region and overseas gathered in a show of solidarity for the historic independence vote.

The opposition Gorran, the second-largest party in parliament, and the smaller Kurdistan Islamic Group, boycotted the vote and called it invalid. "Nobody brought a better alternative", Barzani told people in the Nineveh Plains attending an event in support of the referendum.

Barzani's decision not to postpone the referendum was "very wrong", Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday. But relations with Baghdad have grown strained in recent years over oil and the disputed areas.

The parliament session was the first held since the legislature was suspended almost two years ago, though only 68 of 111 lawmakers attended due to a boycott by the main opposition movement Gorran.

Oil-rich Kirkuk is home to a mix of Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen and Christians.

"Even if the independence referendum is held, Baghdad will not recognize its outcome". Supporters of the referendum argue Kurds deserve their own state after fighting IS and facing years of oppression at the hands of governments in Baghdad, including gassing and ethnic cleansing under former dictator Saddam Hussein.

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