Iraq: One step closer to independence — Iraqi Kurds optimistic after referendum

People in Iraqi Kurdistan woke up this morning with hope that yesterday's referendum brings them independence from Iraq, in Erbil's Bhaki Shar, Tuesday. Although the vote is non-binding, people on the streets of Erbil expressed hope it would be the beginning of a new era. On Erbil reisdent said, «We feel really happy, we hope that we have diminished the pain of the families of martyrs a little... Еще bit, by voting 'Yes', and we hope to see an independent state very soon.» President of Iraqi Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani explained that a win for the 'Yes' vote, in the non-binding referendum, will not lead to a direct declaration of independence. However, it will offer a mandate to help negotiations of independence with Baghdad. The referendum for independence in Iraqi Kurdistan was held on the 25th of September, reportedly 78 pecent of five million voters participated. The resulsts are expected to be announced in 72 hours. The referendum was opposed by Baghdad as well as neighbouring Iran and Turkey, which also have Kurdish areas seeking independence. The Turkmen and Arab communities in regions that will be affected by the referendum also stated their opposition to the secession attempt.

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