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Kurdistan Region to hold independence referendum on Sept 25

By Rudaw 7/6/2017

Last updated at 11:30 p.m.

Kurdish President Masoud Barzani tweeted his satisfaction of the announcement, which marks another step towards Kurdish independence. 



Barzani, who was born in the short-lived Kurdish state of Mahabad, became a Peshmerga fighter in 1961. He has served as a president in the Kurdistan Region since 2005, and is the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).


11:15 p.m.

Komal supportive of independence, will release detailed statement of position

The spokesperson of the Kurdish Islamic Party (Komal) said they were in favor of a referendum and independence of Kurdistan, but will announce their official stance after their party's meeting.

“Referendum and independence are an inalienable and natural right , but it has to take place according to legal measures and within the context of the legitimate institutions and the Kurdistan Parliament,” Rebwar Hamad said.

He added they will have a say on "the outcome of Barzani and the political parties’ meeting and will address it in the Kurdistan Islamic group's political council meeting."


8:25 p.m.

Kirkuk governor encourages campaign for Kurdistan Region referendum

Kirkuk governor and member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) politburo Najmaldin Karim said the people of Kirkuk including Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen will support the Kurdistan Region's referendum.

"I am sure the people of Kirkuk will support and vote for it, not only Kurds, but also Arabs and Turkmen," Karim told Rudaw.

Karim said lots of work has to be done as to engage as many people to vote in the process.

Commenting on Gorran and Komal's disagreements with regards to the looming process, Karim said, neither Gorran nor Komal have stood against referendum, but they have some concerns on the mechanism of the process and that it is the PUK and KDP's responsibility to alleviate their dissatisfaction.


7:20 p.m.

Gorran, Komal not at meeting but will have seats on referendum committee

The head of the Turkmen Front in the Kurdistan parliament told Rudaw that two seats have been reserved for Change Movement (Gorran) and Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal). They are the two parties which had turned down President Masoud Barzani’s request to attend today's meeting, citing the inactivation of the parliament.

"Although Gorran and Komal did not attend the meeting, two seats were reserved for the parties and they will be visited to appoint their representatives for the committee,” Aidn Maaruf, a member of the Turkmen Front, told Rudaw.

Maaruf, who attended the meeting, commented on the readiness of the elections commission
“In the meeting, the commission showed willingness to earmark a budget to run the referendum,” he said. "Barzani really insisted on setting a time frame for the referendum, and said he would persuade companies to sponsor and earmark budget for the referendum.

"Are you with the independence of Kurdistan," is the only question which should be answered by the voters with a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’,” he explained.


6:35 p.m.

Official meeting announcement readout


The announcement from the Kurdistan Region President's meeting with political parties within the parliament and the government:

On Wednesday June 7, 2017, the high-ranking representatives of the political parties within the parliament and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in attendance with the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, the president and deputy president of the Kurdistan High Electoral Commission, all convened with Mr. President Masoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Region.

The subject of referendum and the Kurdistan parliament elections, the internal political stalemates and the regional and world's situations were all discussed in-depth. The meeting's attendants put forward their point of views on the necessity of holding referendum, resolving the region's internal issues, the objective and subjective situation of the Kurdistan Region. 

The meeting's attendants unanimously agreed on the following points:

- First, September 25, 2017 was set for holding referendum in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and the Kurdistani areas outside the region's administration.

- Second, from the end of the meeting until the date of holding the referendum, the parties will be working to reactivate the parliament and resolve the political issues for the sake of obtaining a national unanimity.

- Third, emphasizing the maintenance of the livelihood and addressing the economic crisis of the people of Kurdistan, civil servants, other groups and the destitute people.

- Fourth, the formation of the referendum high council was decided on to be overseen by Mr. President Masoud Barzani. It was also decided on that the political parties have to appoint their respective representatives until June 12, 2017 to be part of some committees of the referendum and post-referendum.


The parties which attended the meeting: Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU), Kurdistan Islamic Movement (KIM), Kurdistan Communist Party, Kurdistan Toilers Party, Kurdistan Toilers and Workers Party, Kurdistan Development and Reform Party, Erbil Turkmen List, Iraqi Turkmen Front, Turkmen Development Party, Armenian List in Kurdistan Parliament, Assyrian Democratic Movement, Assyrian Chaldean Popular Council. 




6:45 p.m.

Will the Kurdistani areas be included in the referendum?


Many areas are now claimed by both Baghdad and Erbil, but are under the protection of Kurdish Peshmerga forces. Hemin Hawrami, senior advisor to President Barzani, tweeted they too would be included in the referendum.




5:29 p.m.

Independence referendum to be held Sept 25, parliamentary elections set for Nov 6


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — After Kurdish President Masoud Barzani convened with Kurdistan's political parties on Wednesday, this year's dates have been reported for a referendum on independence and parliamentary elections in the Kurdistan Region.

Rudaw's Sangar Abdulrahman reported the date will be September 25, 2017.


Abdulrahman added that the Kurdistan Region is set to hold parliamentary elections on November 6.


Additionally, Abdulrahman reported referendum committees being overseen by Barzani have been formed. These three committees will visit foreign and neighboring countries.


Hemin Hawrami, a senior adviser to President Barzani, confirmed the date for the referendum in a tweet.



The Change Movement (Gorran) has been demanding the reactivation of the Kurdistan Region’s parliament in order to enter discussions, and thus again said on Tuesday they were declining to attend meeting.
“As the Change Movement, we will not attend the meeting,” said Shorish Haji, the spokesperson of Gorran.
The Kurdish parliament has not convened since October 2015 when security forces in Erbil, largely under the control of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), blocked the speaker, a Gorran party member, from returning to the capital where the parliament is located.
The row between the the KDP and Gorran worsened when protests broke out in areas under the influence of the Gorran Movement in Sulaimani province in October 2015 leading to the deaths of several KDP members. The KDP accused Gorran of orchestrating the violent protests. Gorran denied the accusations.


Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said in a Times Record News interview last month that a referendum on independence "will show the international community what the population wants."


A member of Kurdistan Toilers Party’s (KTP) Leadership Board who was invited to the meeting, told Rudaw on Tuesday that “what we were told was that the central focus of the meeting will be discussions on referendum.”

Another topic expected to be discussed was Barzani’s recent visits made outside Kurdistan.

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