Kirkuk (IraqiNews.com) Kirkuk’s governor Najmuddin Karim has defied a court ruling and insisted to keep Kurdistan Region’s flag flattering alongside the Iraqi one in the province.
An administrative court in the province ruled on Thursday to lower the Kurdish flag, reversing a controversial decision by Karim late March to raise it alongside the Iraqi one above government buildings, which he adopted following a vote inside the province’s council.
“There is no constitutional article banning the raising of the Kurdish flag as long as the Iraqi one is raised,” the governor said in a press statement.
Karim has been an ardent supporter of the vote Kurdistan Region scheduled for September 25th on independence from Iraq. He recently said a Kurdish delegation visiting Baghdad to discuss differences over the planned poll represented Kirkuk, one of the territories to which both Baghdad and Erbil claim sovereignty.
“The government of Iraq neglects Kirkuk and fails to provide any services to its citizens because it is confident that the province is not part of Iraq,” Karim said in statements following the verdict. “I am confident that the referendum will end successfully, and that the majority of Kurdistan people will vote for independence,” he added.
Since it set the schedule for the controversial poll, Erbil has stressed it was not backtracking on the plan.
Baghdad regularly argued the move was untimely as the country struggles to drive out Islamic State militants who had taken over large areas of the country since 2014.
“The federal government will not partake, support or fund the referendum on the Kurdish region’s independence from Iraq,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi said in a statement last in June.
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.