Kurds vote overwhelmingly for independence from Iraq

Barzani appears at a pro-independence rally in Irbil on Friday.

Iraqi Kurds voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence in a non-binding referendum this week, according to official results announced Wednesday by the Kurdish electoral commission. More than 92 percent of the three million people who cast ballots voted “yes.” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called for the vote to be annulled. His government had urged officials in the semi-autonomous Kurdish north not to hold the referendum, which the national government said violated the country’s constitution. Regional powers and the U.S., a longtime supporter of the region, also had opposed the vote, saying it could stoke instability. Kurdish Regional Government President Masoud Barzani urged the world to “respect the will of the people of Kurdistan.”

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