Iraq's supreme court orders suspension of Kurdish referendum

Iraq's supreme court orders suspension of Kurdish referendum
2 min read
18 September, 2017
Iraq's supreme court has ordered Erbil to scrap a planned Kurdish referendum on possible independence which is due to take place in a week's time.
Kurdish leaders have faced international opposition to their planned independence referendum [AFP]

Iraq's supreme court ordered on Monday the suspension of a Kurdish referendum on 25 September, to examine whether such a poll would be constitutional.

"The supreme court has issued the order to suspend organising the referendum set for 25 September… until it examines the complaints it has received over this plebiscite being unconstitutional," it said in a statement.

The court took the decision after it "reviewed requests to stop the referendum", the statement added.

The move reportedly followed complaints that were filed to the judicial authority.

"We have received several complaints and this is why we decided to suspend the referendum," court spokesman Ayas al-Samouk told AFP.

An unnamed parliamentary source said that at least three lawmakers had submitted complaints against the referendum.

Kurdish leaders have faced international opposition to the referendum, including from the United States, Turkey, Iran and the United Nations.

The sole state backer of the vote is Israel, which has inadvertently 

Neighbours Turkey and Iran, as well as the United States and United Nations, have pleaded for the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq to settle its differences with Baghdad through negotiations rather than secession.

Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani has said a "yes" vote would not trigger an immediate declaration of independence but rather kick-start "serious discussions" with Baghdad.