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Top Iraq court rules Kurdish referendum unconstitutional

The Supreme Federal Court also rules that results from 25 September vote were void, a decision that cannot be appealed
Iraqi Kurdish students at Salahaddin University protest in support of Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani in Erbil (AFP)

Iraq's Supreme Federal Court has ruled that the Kurdish independence referendum held on 25 September was unconstitutional and that voting results were void, a court spokesman said.

Kurds voted overwhelmingly to break away from Iraq, defying the central government in Baghdad as well as neighbouring Turkey and Iran who have their own Kurdish minorities.

The court is responsible for settling disputes between Iraq’s central government and regions including Kurdistan. The verdict, made on Monday, cannot be appealed.

"The Federal Court issued the decision to consider the Kurdish region's referendum unconstitutional and this ruling is final," the spokesman said. "The power of this ruling should now cancel all the results of the referendum."

The court had already ruled on 6 November that no region or province could secede and the Kurdistan Regional Government said last week that it would respect that verdict.

It also said it respected a previous decision insisting on Iraqi unity, which could be a basis for dialogue.

Iraqi parliamentarians in Baghdad are currently reviewing the federal budget for the coming year, including the allocation for the autonomous Kurdish region.

September's referendum was initiated by then Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani, for whom the repercussions were severe.

At the beginning of November, Barzani announced that he was stepping aside, having lost almost all of the territory disputed between Kurdish capital Erbil and Baghdad.

The Kurds also lost all of the oil resources in Kirkuk province that could have ensured the viability of a hypothetical Kurdish state.

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