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Iraqi Kurds Choose Independence in Face of Regional Backlash

  • ‘Yes’ vote was 92.7%, Kurdistan election commission says
  • Monday’s referendum drew criticism, threats from neighbors
Supporters wave flags during a rally for the referendum for independence of Kurdistan in Erbil, Iraq, on Sept. 22, 2017.

Supporters wave flags during a rally for the referendum for independence of Kurdistan in Erbil, Iraq, on Sept. 22, 2017.

Photographer: Chris McGrath/Getty Images
Updated on

Iraqi Kurds voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence, risking retaliation from neighbors as well as the government in Baghdad who have pledged to do whatever it takes to prevent secession.

Almost 93 percent of 3.3 million eligible ballots backed statehood, the Kurdistan High Election Committee said in a press conference in Erbil on Wednesday. Results will be considered final after approval from Kurdistan’s Court of Appeal, according to a report by the Kurdish Rudaw news service.