Kurdish President Masoud Barzani Calls for Referendum Vote on Independence
Kurdish President Masoud Barzani spoke to to the media on June 11 in Erbil outside the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s leadership council monthly meeting urging support to his recent decision to call for a referendum on Kurdish independence=. The decision to call for an independence referendum was issued by Barzani on June 7 after meeting with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), where it was announced the referendum would be held on September 25, less than two months ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections. The decision sparked controversy when the Kurdish President suggested the referendum would include Kurdish areas recently recaptured from the Islamic State. Some Iraqi Shiite political parties, including former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s Dawa Party and its affiliate State of Law Coalition, have already warned of potential tensions created by such a unilateral decision by the KRG, including disagreements over a wide range of political issues such as the country’s financial crisis, the nationalization of Kurdish oil, and the territorial future and potential self-determination of population centers recently recaptured from the Islamic State, including Kirkuk, Makhmour, and Sinjar.