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Six Iraqi unions to sue Kurdistan Regional Govt. over 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 Iraqi parliament in session.

Six Iraqi unions are set to take legal action against the government of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region over an independence referendum due this month.

The Lawyers' Union, Engineering Union, Union of Journalists, Doctors’ Union, Teacher's Union and Workers' Union, in a joint statement released on Tuesday, announced that they would file a lawsuit against the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) over plans to hold the September 25 referendum.

They underlined that the forthcoming vote “lacks any legal or constitutional basis.”

The report comes as the Iraqi parliament voted on Tuesday to reject a Kurdish independence referendum, requiring Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and the central government in Baghdad to “take all steps to protect the unity of Iraq and open a serious dialogue” with Kurdish leaders.

The decision prompted a walkout by Kurdish lawmakers.

This picture shows the joint statement by six Iraqi unions to file a lawsuit against the Kurdistan Regional Government over the September 25 independence referendum. (Photo by al-Sumaria television network)

“Kurdish lawmakers walked out of the session, but the decision to reject the referendum was passed by a majority,” Iraqi lawmaker, Mohammed al-Karbouli, said.

Meanwhile, Kurdish legislator, Majid Shingali, said Kurds would dismiss the decision, adding, “This decision has no value and we will not implement it.”

Meanwhile, Hoshyar Zebari, an adviser to President of Kurdistan Regional Government Masoud Barzani, told Reuters on Tuesday that the Iraqi parliament’s vote against the Kurdish independence referendum was non-binding.

“The Kurdish parliament will definitely have a response to the resolution when it convenes on Thursday,” he said.

Hoshyar Zebari, an adviser to President of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Masoud Barzani

Zebari added that the session of the Kurdish parliament would convene for the first time since October 2015.

In June, Abadi described as untimely the decision by Barzani to hold the referendum.

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

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

Zebari told Reuters on August 12 that Kurdish authorities were determined to hold the referendum on September 25 irrespective of all objections.

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