Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Voting in Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s referendum stood at up to 76%, the electoral commission supervising the process said Monday as polling stations approach closure.
Kurdish network Rudaw put the voting percentage at 76%, while RIA Novosti quoted an electoral official saying turnout was at 65 percent.
Kurdish authorities had predicted 900.000 out of four million eligible voters to show up at the process rejected by the Arab-led central government in Baghdad, the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and regional powers Turkey and Iran.
Commission officials were quoted saying that voting was extended by one extra hour, with results scheduled within 24 hours from the end of the polls.
Kurdistan gained actual autonomous governance based on the 2005 constitution, but is still considered a part of Iraq.
The region was created in 1970 based on an agreement with the Iraqi government, ending years of conflicts.
Baghdad and Erbil have for long disputed sovereignty over a number of regions, most notably the oil-rich province of Kirkuk, besides contending over petroleum exports’ revenues from those regions.
Baghdad has repeatedly vowed to take legal action if Erbil proceeded with the vote.
A few hours earlier, the Iraqi parliament ordered Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to deploy government forces at Kurdish-held areas where sovereignty is disputed with Erbil.