Kirkuk Governor Najmadin Karim raises the Iraqi flag to fly next to the Kurdish flag over a government building in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk. Photo: AFP/Mariwan Ibrahim
BAGHDAD—The Iraqi parliament voted on Saturday to repeal a decision by the Kirkuk Provincial Council last week to raise the Kurdistan flag over state buildings in the city, while Kurdish members of the provincial council have embarked on a project to merge Kirkuk with the self-ruling Kurdistan Region administration.
Arez Abdullah, a Kurdish member of the parliament said that almost all the Iraqi MPs except for the Kurds voted in favor of a motion which rejects the Tuesday’s vote by the local government in Kirkuk to raise the flag over the state institutions.
This move by the Iraqi parliament comes as the Kurdish members of the Kirkuk Provincial Council are preparing to take even a further step by calling on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to integrate Kirkuk into its administration.
The Kirkuk Council aims to renew an official request it passed in 2008 which then called on the KRG to “return” Kirkuk to Kurdistan, a request that went unanswered by the Kurdish government, and was deemed unconstitutional by the Iraqi government.
“We have collected 22 signatures to renew that demand and present it to the concerned parties in the Kurdistan Region so that they act on it,” Ibrahim Khalil, a Kurdish member of the Council told Rudaw on Friday. “It is our rightful and constitutional right. We as the representatives of the Brotherhood faction of Kirkuk had promised this to our voters that we would return Kirkuk back to Kurdistan Region.”
A KRG office responsible for what it terms the Kurdistani Areas outside Kurdistan Region seems to support the renewed demand from Kirkuk this time.
Nasradin Sndi, head of the office said that they are trying to file a formal request to the KRG to speed up the process.
“We are preparing a project to the Council of Ministers of the Kurdistan Region to form a high committee to make this attempt as quickly as possible, because how much longer should we wait for Baghdad? The time has come for us in Kurdistan to take steps forward,” Sindi said.