The Basra provincial council unanimously voted on Monday to turn the oil-rich southern governorate into an autonomous region.
Head of the Basra provincial council, Sabah Al-Bazoni, told reporters that as many as 20 council members voted in favour of turning Basra into an autonomous region, more than the 12 votes needed.
Al-Bazoni explained that the council has formed a committee to follow up on the results and to support efforts that are consistent with the region’s vision.
“All this aims to take Basra’s administrative and financial benefits from the federal government, in accordance with the Constitution,” he added.
In 2015, the Independent High Electoral Commission in Iraq agreed to hold a referendum to turn Basra into an autonomous region. At the time, head of the Iraqi government Nouri Al-Maliki refused to allow Basra to become an independent territory.
Basra contains Iraq’s largest oil wells, producing at least 80 per cent of the country’s oil.