Iraqi Judiciary Summons Kurdish Officials over Lawsuit on Independence Referendum

Iraqi Judiciary Summons Kurdish Officials over Lawsuit on Independence Referendum

Tuesday, 14 November, 2017 - 08:00
Kurds celebrate to show their support for the September 25 independence referendum in Irbil, Iraq September 22, 2017. (Reuters)
Al-Sulaimaniya, Irbil – Sherzad Shikhani and Asharq Al-Awsat
The Iraqi federal government announced on Monday that it summoned a number of officials from the Iraqi Kurdistan Region or their legal representatives over the lawsuit filed by a number of Iraqi MPs and politicians over September’s independence referendum.

They were summoned “on charges of holding an unconstitutional referendum in the Kurdistan region.”

A spokesman for the federal government said that the court set November 20 as the date for examining the complaint over the legitimacy of the vote that took place on September 25 and which was opposed by Baghdad, Ankara and Tehran.

The court did not disclose the identity of the plaintiffs, but sources from Baghdad told Asharq Al-Awsat that the MPs that filed the complaint are members of the Shi’ite Iraqi parliamentary bloc, as well as other Shi’ite politicians.

Their identities will be revealed on the day of the hearing, they added.

Meanwhile, the regional government in Kurdistan has continued its consultations with various political blocs to form a negotiations delegation to head to Baghdad to discuss Kurdish concerns and needs.

Irbil had requested from Baghdad to start negotiations, but Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi’s government has not yet responded to it.

Kurdistan Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said during a press conference on Monday that Baghdad did not respond to the Kurdish request to dispatch a negotiations delegation.

He accused the Iraqi federal government of seeking to “destroy the Kurdish entity” that is recognized by the constitution.

He added that Baghdad wanted to choke the Kurdish region economically by decreasing its share of the public budget.

The PM therefore renewed his demand for the launch of “serious negotiations” in order to resolve all pending disputes between Irbil and Baghdad according to recognized norms and the Iraqi constitution.

“We are still awaiting Abadi’s reply to our request,” said Barzani.

Hosheyar Abdullah, an MP in the Iraqi parliament, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the new budget law allows Abadi to introduce any change he wants to Kurdistan’s share of the budget.

Baghdad has lowered from 17 to 12.6 percent Kurdistan’s share of the public budget, which Abdullah deemed as “unacceptable and illegal.”

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