Kurdistan Region independence referendum
An independence referendum for Kurdistan Region of Iraq was held on 25 September 2017, with preliminary results showing approximately 93.25 percent of votes cast in favour of independence. Despite reporting that the independence referendum would be non-binding, the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) characterized it as binding, although they claimed that an affirmative result would trigger the start of state building and negotiations with Iraq rather than an immediate declaration of independence of Kurdistan. The referendum’s legality was rejected by the federal government of Iraq.It was originally planned to be held in 2014 amidst controversy and dispute between the regional and federal governments. Calls for Kurdish independence had been going on for years, with an unofficial 2005 referendum resulting in 98% voting in favor of independence. These longstanding calls gained impetus following the Northern Iraq offensive by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant during the Iraqi Civil War in which Baghdad-controlled forces abandoned some areas, which were then taken by the Peshmerga and controlled de facto by the Kurds.The referendum was announced and delayed on several occasions as Kurdish forces co-operated with the Iraqi central government for the liberation of Mosul, but by April 2017, it was being seen as happening some time in 2017. On 7 June 2017, Kurdish President Masoud Barzani held a meeting with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and other ruling parties, where the independence referendum was confirmed to be held on 25 September 2017.The referendum led to a military conflict with the Iraqi central government, in which the KRG lost 40 percent of its territory and its main source of revenue, the Kirkuk oil fields. Following the referendum, Masod Barzani resigned as president.