Kurdistan’s leaders unify, vote YES in independence referendum

Polling stations opened across the Kurdistan Region and the areas outside of the Kurdistan Regional Government administration on Monday.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Region’s officials and the political parties’ leaders cast their vote in the historic independence referendum, putting aside all political differences.

The polling stations opened across the Kurdistan Region and the areas outside of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) administration at 8:00 am (local time) on Monday.

Despite political differences and some reservations over the date of holding the independence referendum among the political parties, the leaders unanimously participated in the referendum and voted yes.

President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani cast his vote early Monday morning in Pirmam, near the capital of Erbil, in a bid to begin the process to separate from Iraq. 

Following the vote, Barzani in a post on Twitter said “Proud to cast my vote earlier this morning and partake in this historic day, the day of the Kurdistan Referendum.”

Mala Bakhtiyar, Head of Executive Body of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, after casting his vote told reporters that holding the referendum is a legitimate right for the Kurds, stating that the country of Kurdistan is no threat to neighboring countries.

Kosrat Rasool, the Vice President of the Kurdistan Region, who voted in one of the polling stations in Kirkuk, urged the Iraqi government to accept the results of the referendum if they believe in democracy.

He commended the people of the Kurdistan Region for having a united stance and voicing their opinion about the independence.

Omar Said Ali, the leader of the Gorran [Change] Movement, after casting his vote in Sulaimani revealed that he has voted yes, as the party in a statement on Sunday freed its supporters in how they deal with the referendum process.

Ali Bapir, Amir of the Kurdistan Islamic Group, told reporters at a polling station that the people of the Kurdistan Region have the legitimate right like all other nations to live freely.

The Islamic Group and the Change Movement were the two parties that had asked the referendum to be postponed because of "lack of preparedness and national consensus."

Nechirvan Barzani, the Kurdistan Region PM, and his wife also voted in the independence referendum.

Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) Masrour Barzani cast his 'Yes' vote.

Barzani in a post on his Twitter account said that the vote reflects generations of Kurdistanis who fought for this day. It honors our martyrs, brave Peshmerga.

Over five million people are eligible to vote according to the Independent High Elections and Referendum Commission (IHERC).



Editing by Ava Homa