Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) The Iraqi parliament voted Tuesday against a planned referendum by Kurdistan Region Government on independence from Iraq, obliging the Iraqi government to take measures to “preserve the unity of Iraq”.
The session was attended by 204 of parliament’s 328 members.
“The Iraqi Constitution had enumerated issues for which a referendum is required, and those do not include the Kurdistan referendum,” parliament speaker Salim al-Jubouri said in a statement by his office. “The inclusion of disputed territories in the referendum is also a violation of the constitution,” the statement added.
The negative vote prompted Kurdish representatives to walk out of the chamber.
Sirwan Sereni, a Kurdish representative from the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) told Kurdish network Rudaw that the petition which was voted on and approved by the parliament contains “military measures” against the move. He said they “were not consulted with or informed of the petition in the first place, and when a hearing given to the petition “we were not allowed to comment on it.”
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.
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.
Baghdad has maintained that the planned poll was unconstitutional, and a political crisis erupted when Kurds included oil-rich Kirkuk, a disputed territory, as a voting constituency.