Iraqi Kurds to hold independence referendum in September
Iraqi PM previously said he respects Kurdish right to vote but does not think timing is apt
A man sews an Iraqi Kurdish flag bearing a portrait of Iraqi Kurdistan president Massud Barzani, in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq. File photograph: Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images
Iraqi Kurds will hold an independence referendum on September 25th, according to the president of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region Masoud Barzani.
He announced the vote on Twitter on Wednesday.
Hamin Hawrami, a senior presidential adviser, said on his own Twitter account that the decision follows a meeting of the major Kurdish political parties in Irbil, the region’s capital.
Iraq’s Kurdish region, with a population of about 5 million, already enjoys a high degree of autonomy, including its own parliament and armed forces.
However, relations with the central government in Baghdad have nosedived in recent years over a range of issues.
Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi said in April he respects the Kurdish right to vote on independence, but he did not think the timing was right for the move.