World Bulletin / News Desk
Kirkuk’s provincial council had announced on Aug. 29 its decision -- at a session boycotted by Turkmen and Arab members -- to include the disputed province in an upcoming referendum on Kurdish regional independence in northern Iraq.
The decision sparked uproar and calls by member of parliaments and politicians to remove Karim from office.
Slated for Sept. 25, the non-binding referendum will see residents of northern Iraq’s Kurdish region vote on whether or not to declare formal independence from Baghdad.
Baghdad rejects the planned poll, saying it will adversely affect the fight against the ISIL terrorist group, which still maintains a significant presence in northern Iraq.
The Iraqi government also believes that holding the poll would violate the terms of the country's constitution.
Turkey, too, rejects the planned referendum, saying the region’s stability depends on the unity of Iraq and the maintenance of its territorial integrity.
Washington, for its part, has voiced concern that the poll could serve as a “distraction” from other pressing regional issues, especially the fight against terrorism and the stabilization of post-ISIL Iraq.
Historically comprised of Arabs, Turkmen and Kurds, oil-rich Kirkuk remains disputed between Masoud Barzani’s Kurdish Regional Government and Iraq’s central government.