Published: Tue, November 21, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Top Iraq court rules Kurdish referendum unconstitutional

Top Iraq court rules Kurdish referendum unconstitutional

Iraq's Supreme Federal Court on Monday ruled that a September referendum on the secession of northern Iraq's Kurdish region was "unconstitutional", APA reported citing Anadolu Agency.

The legal move marked the latest stage in the dispute between Baghdad and Kurdish regional capital Arbil sparked by the referendum, which resulted in a resounding "yes" vote for independence in the Kurdish area.

A deputy from the ruling Kurdistan Democratic party, Fares al-Briykakani said that the court decision "opens the door for real dialogue between Baghdad and Irbil", adding that the ruling was binding. It was also criticized by the US and the U.N. In the wake of the vote, Iraqi federal forces seized the northern city of Kirkuk and other disputed areas from the Kurds.

For his part, Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani told reporters on Monday that the Federal Court's ruling was made "unilaterally and without the presence of Kurdish representatives".

Last month, the UN Security Council urged the Iraqi government and regional leaders in Kurdistan to set a timetable for talks to end the crisis.

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Mr Barzani, speaking at a news conference in Erbil, said that Baghdad's non adherence to the constitution led Kurdistan to hold referendum on independence. Rejecting the freeze offer, Abadi instead demanded the annulment of the independence vote.

At the beginning of November, Barzani announced that he was stepping aside, having lost nearly all of the territory disputed between Kurdish capital Erbil and Baghdad.

Kurds voted overwhelmingly to break away from Iraq, defying the central government in Baghdad as well as neighbouring Turkey and Iran who have their own Kurdish minorities.

"It seems the Iraqi authority is satisfied with this proposal, so the process will take place through the Federal Court, which will issue the decision and then the regional government will declare its commitment to it", he added.

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