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Referendum council backs parliament sitting Sept 14, resuming ‘normal sessions’

By Rudaw 10/9/2017
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Referendum council backs parliament sitting Sept 14, resuming ‘normal sessions’
The High Referendum Council's (HRC) meeting Erbil on September 10, 2017. Photo: KRP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The High Referendum Council (HRC) has backed convening parliament on September 14 to resume its “normal sessions.”
 
“The political parties and groups involved in the HRC agreed to reactivate the parliament on Thursday, September 14, 2017 and to resume its normal sessions,” read a six-point statement from the council after a meeting on Sunday.
 
The council includes members of most of Kurdistan’s political parties except for Gorran and the Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal) who have declined to participate in the party-led organization of the referendum and insisted that the vote be given a parliamentary mandate.
 
After days of intense meetings among multiple parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) have agreed to reactivate the defunct legislature with or without the participation of Gorran and Komal. 
 
Gorran wants to see the parliament resume its normal work and not just sit in order to rubber stamp the referendum. KDP and PUK intend to meet with Gorran and Komal before the 14th to convince them to come to parliament.  
 
The HRC, in their statement invited international and civil monitors to observe the September 25 referendum, which it reiterated will not be postponed. It also highlighted the importance of making guarantees to the religious and ethnic minorities in Kurdistan.
 
The full six points published by the HRC after their meeting are as follows:
 
First: The High Referendum Council emphasized holding the referendum at its scheduled time, September 25, 2017, in the Kurdistan Region and the Kurdistani areas outside the Region's administration and rejects all rumors and propaganda regarding postponing the referendum.
 
Second: The meeting, considering the delicate situation of Kurdistan, stressed the necessity of unity and national unanimity and coordination between the political parties for joint referendum campaigning.
 
Third: The meeting stressed protecting and taking into account the rights and calls from the religious and ethnic groups of Kurdistan during all phases. The result of the meeting of committees tasked with guarantees for the components was discussed and the HRC was asked to put the groups’ demands in order. The meeting also threw its support behind the components’ calls.
 
Fourth: The political parties and groups involved in the HRC agreed to reactivate the parliament on Thursday, September 14, 2017 and to resume its normal sessions.
 
Fifth: The HRC fully supports the measures and practical steps being taken by the Independent High Electoral and Referendum Commission (IHREC) for the referendum process and calls on the government and associated parties to help the IHREC in the Kurdistan Region.
 
Sixth: The HRC calls on foreign and civic society organizations to take part in observing the referendum process in the Kurdistan Region. 
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