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Iraqi parliament votes against Kurdish independence referendum

The file photo shows a view of the Iraqi parliament in session in Baghdad. (By AP)

The Iraqi parliament has voted to oppose a referendum on the independence of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

The majority of lawmakers voted against the referendum — planned by the Kurdistan Regional Government — during a parliament session on Tuesday.

The vote prompted Kurdish lawmakers to quit the parliament floor.

Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri said the vote made it incumbent on the government to “take all steps to protect the unity of Iraq and open a serious dialog” with Kurdish officials.

Speaking prior to the vote, MP Ammar Toma warned that the “unconstitutional” referendum would cause security and societal problems in Iraq and push the country into a state of chaos.

The Kurdish referendum is scheduled for September 25, but the central government in Baghdad is opposed to the vote.

Regional players like Iran and Turkey have also voiced concern about the planned referendum, arguing that it could create further instability in the region.

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