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Iraq removes Kirkuk governor from office

Image of Kirkuk Governor Najmiddin Karim, [DVIDS/Wikipedia]

Iraqi lawmakers today voted to remove Kirkuk Governor Najmiddin Karim from his post following a request by Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi.

Kirkuk's provincial council had announced on 29 August its decision – at a session boycotted by Turkmen and Arab members – to include the disputed province in an upcoming referendum on Kurdish regional independence in northern Iraq.

The decision sparked uproar and calls by member of parliaments and politicians to remove Karim from office.

The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) has strongly condemned the parliament's decision saying it violated the constitution.

The people of KRG, especially Kirkuk, will not be bound by the parliament's decision, a presidential statement said, adding the Kirkuk governor was elected to office and approved by the provincial council.

Read: Civilian safety 'a priority' in planned Kirkuk campaign

"The right [to remove the governor from office] belongs to the people of Kirkuk, not the Iraqi parliament," the statement read.

Kurds are due to hold a non-binding referendum on 25 September on whether or not to declare formal independence from Baghdad.

Baghdad rejects the planned poll, saying it will adversely affect the country's unity and the fight against the Daesh.

The Iraqi government also believes that holding the poll would violate the terms of the country's constitution.

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