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IRAQ

Iraq's Supreme Court orders suspension of Kurdish independence referendum

Safin Hamed, AFP | A banner in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, urging voters to choose independence in the upcoming referendum.
2 min

Iraq's Supreme Court on Monday ordered the suspension of a September 25 referendum on the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan to examine whether such a vote would be constitutional.

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

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

A source in parliament said at least three lawmakers had filed complaints against the poll.

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

France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Monday added to those calls to hold talks instead of a vote, calling the referendum "inappropriate".

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

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS and AFP)

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