IN PHOTOS: President Barzani votes in historic independence referendum
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) - President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani has cast his voice in the historic referendum on independence early Monday morning in Pirmam, near the capital of Erbil, in a bid to begin the process to separate from Iraq.
As he cast his ballot, Barzani acknowledged the sacrifices of all those before him, including the Peshmerga. "All of my life's work has been for the independence of Kurdistan," he said.
"The blood spilled by our brave Peshmerga was not for nothing," Barzani reiterated. The referendum is viewed as being one of the foundation stone being laid for a newly-established independent Kurdistan state.
"I ask all the people of the Kurdistan Region exercise their right and go to the ballot boxes to cast their vote for the independence of Kurdistan," Barzani added.
Following President Barzani, Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) Masrour Barzani cast his 'Yes' vote.
The polling stations opened at 08:00 am Monday morning and will stay open until 6:00 in the evening.
Over five million people are eligible to vote according to the Independent High Elections and Referendum Commission (IHERC).
According to the President of the Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani, should the 'Yes' vote win the majority, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will engage in a serious and constructive dialogue with Baghdad regarding their bilateral relations in the future as two independent neighbors.
An independent Kurdistan has been a long-awaited dream for over 40 million stateless Kurds all across the globe. The Kurds have been labeled as the largest stateless nation in the world.