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Kurdistan referendum results: 93% of Iraqi Kurds vote for independence, say reports

Published: September 27, 2017
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Source: The Independent

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Almost 93 per cent of those who took part in the referendum on support for Kurdish independence from Iraq have voted to split from Baghdad, officials have said.

The results of Monday's vote were announced on Wednesday evening by election officials in Irbil, the semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government (KRG)'s capital. 

A total of 92.73 per cent said 'yes' in response to the question, "Do you want the Kurdistan Region and the Kurdistani areas outside the administration of the Region to become an independent state?”, head of the electoral commission Hendrin Mohammed told reporters.  Turn out had been high, with approximately 72 per cent of the 8.4 million strong population taking part. 

The Kurdish decision to hold a vote on divorcing the central government has greatly angered Baghdad: Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's government has refused to recognised the referendum, declaring it unconstitutional. Multiple attempts were made to delay or derail it, including a Supreme Court order last week.

The international community - and in particular Washington DC - had advised against it, worried the vote could stoke already inflamed Irbil-Baghdad tensions and affect the fight to destroy Isis in its remaining strongholds in the country. 

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Abadi demanded in a speech that the Kurdish authorities "cancel" the referendum and its results.

He ordered the KRG to give up control of its international airports by Friday, adding that Kurdish forces must also withdraw from disputed areas currently under KRG control such as Kirkuk.

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