Kurdistan: 92% voted “yes” for independence from Iraq

A polling station during a vote on Kurdistan’s independence from Iraq.

Baghdad ( Initial results have shown that 92% of Kurdistan citizens support independence from Iraq, the autonomous region’s electoral commission said Wednesday as regional pressures mount from neighbors opposed to the secession plans.

The Independent High Elections and Referendum Commission (IHERC)  said ‘Yes’ vote scored 92.73 percent, compared to only 7.27  of ‘No’ vote.

The commission previously stated that the turnout for Monday’s referendum was 72.16 percent.

The results announced come amid opposition from the Arab-led Iraqi government in Baghdad, the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and regional powers Iran and Turkey who view the move as untimely due to Iraq’s unfinished campaign to expel Islamic State militants.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said earlier on Wednesday that his government still rejected Erbil’s call for negotiations based on the outcome of the “unconstitutional” plebiscite, vowing to impose his country’s control over areas disputed with Kurdistan.

Baghdad, Ankara and Iran have declared a set of penal measures on Kurdistan, including closure of airspaces and borders.

Kurdish leaderships, headed by outgoing President Masud Barzani, have, in return, insisted that holding the vote was a Kurdish right on which future negotiations on disputed issues with Baghdad could be based.

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.


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