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Voter turnout for Kurdish referendum 72 percent

September 26, 2017 at 1:31 am

A support rally for Kurdish independence ahead of the Kurdish referendum on 21 September 2017 [Rudaw English‏/Twitter]

Turnout for a controversial independence referendum in northern Iraq was 72 percent, a spokesperson for the Kurdish Regional Government’s (KRG) Election Commission said late Monday.

The final results are expected within three days, Shirwan Zirar told reporters in the KRG’s capital Erbil.

Zirar said 3,305,000 people cast their votes, accounting for 72% of eligible voters.

Monday’s non-binding referendum took place in KRG-held areas in northern Iraq, including areas disputed between Erbil and Baghdad.

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The referendum, which was boycotted by Turkmens and Arabs, was held in Erbil, Dohuk and Sulaymaniyah provinces, the contested province of Kirkuk, Tuz Khurmatu district in Saladin province and Khanaqin district in Diyala province.

Earlier Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would take political, economic, commercial and security steps against the KRG.

Iraq’s central government has threatened to intervene militarily if the vote leads to violence.

KRG leader Masoud Barzani, however, said a “Yes” vote would not result in an automatic declaration of independence but would simply lead to further negotiations with Baghdad.