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2 Iraqi Kurdish parties call for postponement of independence referendum

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file photo shows a view of the parliament building of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in Erbil, northern Iraq. (Photo by AFP)

Two major Iraqi Kurdish parties have called on authorities in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region to delay the forthcoming independence referendum in a bid to save a part of the salaries of civil servants and improve the living conditions of ordinary people.

The Gorran Movement – also known as the Change List – and the Kurdistan Islamic Group, in a joint statement released on Monday, stated that they “demand the postponement of September 25 vote to a more appropriate time,” Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network reported.

Both parties further underlined that the decision to hold an independence referendum must be legislated by the Kurdistan parliament in the first place.

The two major Kurdish parties also stressed the need for necessary work in order to hold parliamentary and presidential elections in the Kurdistan region as planned on November 1.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the state-run TRT Haber television news network on August 16 that the Iraqi Kurdistan region's plans to hold an independence referendum would lead to "civil war" in Iraq.

Hoshyar Zebari, a close adviser to Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)'s President Masoud Barzani, told Reuters on August 12 that Kurdish authorities were determined to hold the referendum on September 25 irrespective of all objections.

In June, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi described as untimely the decision by Barzani to hold the referendum.

“We have a constitution that we've voted on, we have a federal parliament and a federal government.... The referendum at this time is not opportune,” Abadi said on June 13.

Iran has also expressed opposition to the “unilateral” scheme, underlining the importance of maintaining the integrity and stability of Iraq and insisting that the Kurdistan region is part of the majority Arab state.

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