Flag of Kurdistan fly high in the city center of Kirkuk. The Baathi-era name of Taamim means nationalization after the nationalization of the Iraqi oil in early 1970s. Rudaw file photo.
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says that his government has agreed to send to the parliament a proposed law that would officially change the name of the multiethnic province of Kirkuk back to its historical name from Taamim which was imposed by the former Baath regime.
PM Abadi said that the change is to make sure that the official names match up with the realities on the ground as he said different state institutions have been using different names.
The proposed law would also change the name of the center-south province of Qadisissyah back to Diwaniyah.
PM Abadi told reporters Tuesday that only these two provinces objected to the name of their respective official names.
Earlier in the year, the governor of Kirkuk Najmadin Karim suspended the work of an office in Kirkuk that was responsible for issuing new national identity card as protest against the use of the Baath-era name in their official papers.
A statement released by Governor Karim in January read the suspension will end when the name Taamim, a holdover from the Baath era, is officially removed by Baghdad.
The former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein changed the name Kirkuk to Taamim meaning nationalization in the 1970s as part of a larger process that was then termed by the Kurds as Arabization of the province, during which some of the administrative boundaries were also altered to increase the number of the Arab Population.
Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution that concerns the disputed areas claimed both by the Kurdish government in Erbil and the central government in Iraq calls for a series of steps that eventually and in practice rolls back the changes made by the then Iraqi regime. It should have been implemented by 2007, but the implementation has never materialized.
The Kirkuk local government has shown willingness to take part in the much-anticipated referendum on independence that is widely expected to be held by Erbil in the fall.