KIRKUK (Iraq) (Sputnik) — Kirkuk province, Iraq’s disputed area officially controlled by Baghdad, but de-facto remaining under the control of the Kurdish authorities does not obey Iraq’s government or the parliament, province’s Governor Najmiddin Karim told Sputnik on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi said Iraqi authorities would use the power of law to return the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, which has recently held an independence referendum, under its control.
"We are still in touch with Baghdad. In regards to this decision [on Karim’s resignation] — is illegal and unconstitutional. The laws on Kirkuk are pretty clear – the province is not in subjection to the prime minister or parliament. Because the Kirkuk governor was not entrusted by the parliament and thus the latter does not have the right to dismiss him," Karim said.
A referendum on the independence of Kurdistan was held in the region on Monday, including territories disputed by the region and the federal government, such as Kirkuk. The preliminary results show that almost 93 percent of the voters have supported independence.
Baghdad has been strongly against the referendum, while several foreign states, including the United States, have questioned its timing.