Iraqi Kurdistan’s lawmakers have approved a plan to hold an independence referendum this month, a move that has faced bitter opposition from the central government of Iraq and several other countries.
Despite Baghdad’s strong disapproval of the referendum, 65 out of the 68 Kurdish lawmakers present in the regional parliament on Friday voted in favor of the referendum which will be held on September 25.
The move was approved in the Iraqi city of Erbil in the 111-seat parliament consisting of Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of Kurdistan’s President Masoud Barzani, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) of Iraq's former president, Jalal Talabani, and the independent Goran and Jamaa Islamiya opposition parties.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday denounced the independence referendum as “unconstitutional,” urging the Kurdish leadership to visit Baghdad for talks.
Abadi’s remarks came after the Iraqi parliament voted to reject the poll on the Kurdish region’s independence.
Neighboring countries, including Iran, Syria and Turkey have voiced strong opposition to the vote.
“Mr. Barzani is well aware of what we think about this matter. I think his statement is very very wrong, because he is well aware of our sensitivities about the territorial integrity of Iraq,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a televised interview.
Erdogan also said the decision not to postpone the vote is “very wrong”.