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Iraqi MPs demand dissolution of Kirkuk province council

Seventy-four Iraqi MPs have signed a petition calling for the dissolution of Kirkuk's provincial council, Iraqi Turkmen lawmaker Niyazi Mimaroglu told Anadolu Agency on Saturday.

"We launched this petition to protest the council's failure to implement decisions taken by the central administration, represented by the Iraqi parliament," Mimaroglu said.

"Once we have collected 200 [MPs'] signatures, the council can be dissolved by a parliamentary decision," he added.

Mimaroglu went on to assert that Kirkuk's ongoing political dispute would not be resolved by merely removing the provincial governor.

Holding a planned referendum on Kurdish regional independence in Kirkuk "will only allow Kurdish forces to take over disputed areas", Mimaroglu said, going on to warn: "This hegemony will pose a threat to everyone in these territories".

He added: "If Kirkuk's provincial council is dissolved, a state of emergency will be declared and the province will end up being directly overseen by the military."

Last Thursday, Iraqi lawmakers voted to remove Kirkuk Governor Najmiddin Karim from his post based on a request by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

Read: Kurdistan government rejects dismissal of Kirkuk governor

Northern Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), for its part, condemned the move, which it said violated Iraq's national charter.

Late last month, Kirkuk's provincial council — at a session boycotted by Turkmen and Arab members — voted to include the disputed province in a planned Sept. 25 referendum on Kurdish regional independence.

The move triggered an uproar, with Iraqi politicians and MPs calling for Karim's immediate removal from office — calls that were implemented last week.

The controversial referendum, results of which will be non-binding, will see residents of the northern Kurdish region vote on whether or not to declare independence from Iraq.

Baghdad, however, rejects the planned poll, saying it will adversely affect the fight against the Daesh terrorist group, which still maintains a significant presence in northern Iraq.

The Iraqi government also contends that holding the poll would violate the terms of the country's 2005 national charter.

Turkey, too, rejects the planned referendum, saying the region's stability depends on the maintenance of Iraq's unity and territorial integrity.

*Ali Murat Alhas contributed to this report from Ankara

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