Diyala council decides not to run Kurdish independence vote

Diyala province council’s building.

Diyala ( Diyala province council voted Tuesday against partaking in the Kurdistan Region’s referendum on independence from Iraq, further adding to the conflict between Baghdad and Erbil over the legitimacy of the vote and the territories included.

Council member Samira al-Zebeidi told Almaalomah website that 18 members voted against participation in the controversial poll.

The council gave municipalities heads who agreed to partake in the vote 72 hours to declare their final stance before they are subjected to judicial measures, according to Zebeidi.

On Sunday, Diyala council decided to suspend a municipal official to calm protesters opposed to raising Kurdish flags in the province.

Khedr Musallam, a member of Diyala province board, told Almaalomah that governor Muthanna al-Tamimi had given Abdul-Hussein Lusi, head of Mandali precinct, a compulsory vacation following angry protests which pulled down Kurdish flags raised at “vital” facilities in the province.

“No status quo can be imposed such as raising Kurdish flags and the inclusion of Diyala as a referendum vote constituency by Kurdish bodies” Musallam stated. “Disputed territories are addressed by the constitution, and not determined by Kurdistan.” he added.

Diyala is one of the regions to which the governments in Baghdad and Erbil claim sovereignty.
Kurdistan Region slated a vote on independence from the central government in Baghdad for September 25th, and has, since then, defied calls from Baghdad to postpone the measure which Iraqi officials deem unconstitutional.

Kurdistan gained 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.

Erbil has already prepared voting units and started official propaganda campaigns in preparation for the referendum.


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