PUK in Kirkuk rejects holding Kurdistan referendum in the province 

September 14, 2017 at 3:56 pm

Masoud Barzani travelled to Kirkuk on September 12 and met with governor Najmaddin Karim and members of public from all sections of the society (12 September 2017)

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) office in Kirkuk rejected the call to hold referendum for Kurdish independence fearing bloodshed in the city between peshmerga and Shia militias. The decision by the PUK office known as Malband is significant because Kirkuk is considered a stronghold of the PUK where the party holds six parliamentary seats out of a total of 13 seats allocated to the province.

Yasin Izzaddin the deputy head of the PUK office told Kirkuknow “ we decided to reject holding referendum in Kirkuk with the majority of votes of the members of the Malband , because the future of the city is in danger and we are not ready to gamble on the city.”

He went on to say “this is the decision of the people of Kirkuk, we asked for dialogue amongst various groups in the city from the beginning. Kirkuk is in danger, Hashd [Popular Mobilisation Forces] have handed out weapons and we want to prevent a bloody war between peshmerga and Hashd…”

Izzaddin says the PUK had said from the beginning that without preparation and legal framework, it would not force the referendum upon people. “We have decided not to be part of the referendum and reject holding it in the city.”

Another source who was at the meeting said “ there was a lot of discussion , some memebers believed that the decision should be taken by the [PUK] Politburo but the majority agreed to form a decision and rejected the referendum.”

The Kirkuk Provincial Council on 29th of August decided after a request from the governor Najmaddin Karim to approve holding the referendum in the province even though the Turkmen and Arab members of the council boycotted the session.

Iraq parliament on September 12 decided to reject the referendum in the Kurdistan region and the disputed areas.

Masoud Barzani and the majority of Kurdistan political parties decided in early June to hold the referendum for independence on September 25.

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