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Iraq Federal Court rules Kurdish referendum unconstitutional

Peshmerga forces cast their ballots in the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG)'s non binding independence referendum on 25 September 2017. [Yunus Keleş /Anadolu Agency]

Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court today ruled that a referendum held on Kurdish independence was unconstitutional and that the results of the vote were void, a court spokesman said.

Kurds voted overwhelmingly to break away from Iraq in a referendum held on 25 September, defying the central government in Baghdad as well as neighbouring Turkey and Iran who have their own Kurdish minorities.

The court is responsible for settling disputes between Iraq’s central government and regions including Kurdistan. The verdict cannot be appealed.

“The Federal Court issued the decision to consider the Kurdish region’s referendum unconstitutional and this ruling is final,” the spokesman said. “The power of this ruling should now cancel all the results of the referendum.”

Read: Iran welcomes Kurdistan’s offer to freeze referendum results

The court had already ruled on 6 November that no region or province can secede and the Kurdistan Regional Government said last week it would respect that verdict.

Iraqi government forces and the Iran-backed Popular Mobilisation Forces launched a surprise offensive on 16 October in retaliation in disputed areas. Government forces managed to wrest back control of the oil city of Kirkuk and other disputed territories.

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