Iraqi Kurds to Hold Referendum Despite Parliament’s Rejection

Kurdish Officials Say Parliament's Vote 'Non-Binding'

Iraqi Kurdish President Masoud Barzani today assured voters the September 25 referendum on secession from Iraq will move forward as planned. This is despite a vote at the Iraqi parliament today which authorized PM Hayder Abadi to take all measures necessary to prevent any changes in Iraq’s borders.

The parliament vote was intended to forbid the referendum, dubbing it a threat to “regional security.” Kurdish MPs walked out of the session beforehand, but the vote still got a majority. Kurdish officials say the vote is “non-binding,” and that the Kurdish parliament is to convene Thursday to reiterate that fact.

Iraqi Kurdish officials have said the referendum would happen as soon as the ISIS war was over. It is widely expected the vote will pass by a wide margin, though some Kurdish figures, including the wealthy Shaswar Abdulwahid Qadir, are leading a “No for Now” movement seeking to delay the vote for the time.

Officially, most nations are opposed to Kurdish recession, though Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said that her nation supports Kurdish independence. She added that Israel is pushing the US to also “support the process.”

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of