Kurdistan Referendum to Go Ahead as Planned, KRG Official Says

Kurdistan, Iraq, referendum, independence, Turkey, instability, independence referendum, Falah Mustafa, Kurdistan referendum
Students display Kurdistan flags at a pro-independence rally in front of University of Cihan in Erbil, Kurdistan's regional capital.

The planned independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan will be held on September 25 despite claims to the contrary, Hemin Hawrami, a senior assistant to the Kurdistan Regional Government’s leader Masoud Barzani said on Saturday.

“I can affirm that [the] referendum will go ahead. No delay or postponement,” Mr. Hawrami told The Globe Post.

Earlier, leaders within the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party said they planned to accept an alternative deal proposed by the United States, United Kingdom and United Nations that includes postponing the referendum and additional negotiations with Baghdad.

PUK spokesperson Sadi Pira said there would be no delay despite the “position of a few PUK cadres,” Mr. Hawrami said.

The Kurdistan referendum has garnered little support from western nations, with the U.S. being most outspoken against it. Last week, an official within the Gorran (Change) party told The Globe Post that Brett McGurk, the U.S. envoy to the anti-ISIS Coalition, had suggested Washington could cut diplomatic ties with the Kurdistan Region if the referendum went ahead.

Voting for the Kurdish diaspora began on Saturday morning and polls open in Iraqi Kurdistan on Monday. The ballot will ask simply, “Do you want the Kurdistan Region and the Kurdistani areas outside the administration of the Region to become an independent state?”

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