Iraqi PM demands suspension of Kurdish polls

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has formally demanded suspension of the upcoming Kurdish polls amid the central government’s strong opposition to the planned vote.

The demand came after Iraq’s Supreme Court on Monday ordered the deferral of the September 25 voting to examine whether such a poll would be constitutional.

“The Supreme Court has issued the order to suspend organizing the voting set for September 25… until it examines the complaints it has received over this plebiscite being unconstitutional,” the court said in a statement.

The court added in the statement that the decision was taken after it “reviewed requests to stop the referendum.”

“We have received several complaints and this is why we decided to suspend the voting,” the Supreme Court spokesman, Ayas al-Samouk, said.

On Saturday, Abadi said Kurdish authorities were “playing with fire” by planning to hold a vote for the independence of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

“A sincere and brotherly call to the leaders in Kurdistan: the decision is a dangerous one. I consider it playing with fire. This decision poses the biggest danger to our citizens in Kurdistan,” Abadi told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview.

The Iraqi parliament voted on September 13 to reject the plebiscite, requiring the prime minister and the central government in Baghdad to “take all steps to protect the unity of Iraq and open a serious dialogue” with Kurdish leaders. The decision prompted a walkout by Kurdish lawmakers.