Kurdish independence referendum needs parliamentary mandate, say PUK and Gorran

Hakim Qadr [L], a leadership member of the Patriot Union of Kurdistan and Omar Sayyid Ali, a leadership member of the Change (Gorran) Movement sign a power sharing agreement in 2014 in Sulaimani following indecisive provincial elections in Sulaimani. (File photo: Rudaw)

Two of the main Kurdish parties of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq have made a joint statement saying that a mandate from the parliament is needed to hold an independence referendum.

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Gorran (Change Movement) following a high-level meeting on Saturday emphasised that the parliament, which has been inactive since October 2015, needed to convene before a referendum could be held.

“The joint leadership emphasise that referendum, independence, and establishing the Kurdistan State is the legitimate right of the nation of Kurdistan,” the statement read, adding that it is in light of the Article 11 of the political agreement signed between the two parties a year ago, Rudaw reported.

The parties also called for separate referendums in the areas disputed between the KRG and central Iraqi government, which also includes oil-rich Kirkuk and Diyala.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), led by Masoud Barzani and which holds the presidency and prime minister’s position in the KRG, has argued that a mandate from parliament is not necessary to hold the referendum.