Kurdish factions call for inclusion of Kirkuk in referendum

2017/04/25 | 12:55

(Iraq News)- KIRKUK, Kurdistan Region— Nearly all Kurdish parties in the disputed city of Kirkuk on Monday showed support for an anticipated public vote on Kurdistan Region’s independence from Iraq and called for the vote to also include Kirkuk province. The Kurdish opposition Change Movement (Gorran) boycotted the meeting in Kirkuk, where all Kurdish factions gathered on Monday to discuss the referendum, in protest against the two dominant Kurdish parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Gorran representative Ahmed Aziz told Rudaw.

 No official deadline has been set for the referendum but according to the Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani the vote will take place before the end of 2017. “People have been posing the question whether Kirkuk and other disputed territories will take part in the referendum,” said KDP senior official Salah Delo.

“The answer to that question is yes, both Kirkuk and all these regions will be included since it’s a public vote and any Kurd anywhere should participate,” he added. Erbil has said the referendum is to cover nearly all disputed territories outside the administration of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in places such as Kirkuk, Shingal, Khanaqin and areas in Nineveh Plains which were liberated from ISIS militants over the past two years. Reactions from Iraqi leaders have consistently been in opposition to the Kurdish referendum, fearing a possible Kurdish independence could pave the way for the country’s Sunnis to demand a similar vote and lead to the disintegration of Iraq. “No country in the region or the world, except for Israel perhaps, will recognise the Kurdish state,” the Shiite cleric and politician Ammar Hakim said last week who has in the past tried to mediate between Erbil and Baghdad and ease the tensions.The PUK is considered as the largest Kurdish party in Kirkuk with considerable political and military influence.

Kirkuk Governor Najmadin Karim is a high-ranking member of the PUK.

 “We have formed a joint committee which is to adress the referendum.

The PUK has underlined the importance of referendum in these areas in the past and believes that Kirkuk and other territories should take part in the vote,” said PUK official Aso Mamand.     

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