Iraqi President in Kirkuk: Article 140 Remains Constitutional
Iraqi President, Fuad Masoum announced on Monday (November 27) that it is for the Kirkuk Provincial Council to elect a new governor for the oil-disputed city, saying no changes will take place in the council until the upcoming elections.
Former Kirkuk Governor Najmadin Karim, a Kurd, was removed from office by the Iraqi Parliament amid tensions between Erbil and Baghdad that deteriorated after the Kurdish referendum.
Masoum said the purpose of his visit was to meet with Kirkuk’s interim governor, Rakan Al Jabouri, his deputy, community representatives and security institutions aimed to exchange views and help maintain calm in the region.
“Kirkuk has brought together several constituencies and has always been a lovely and brotherly city as a miniature image of Iraq,” said Iraqi President during a press conference in Kirkuk.
“I hope that traces left by the October 16 incidents will vanish and the constituencies live in the province as brothers,” he added.
Masoum further said that Article 140 would remain constitutional. According to Article 140, Kirkuk and other disputed regions should be allowed to vote on whether to join autonomous Kurdistan, after steps have been taken to allow expelled Kurds to return, and a census has been conducted.
Long claimed by the Kurds as part of their historic territory, the province has emerged as the main flashpoint in the dispute.
Polling during the referendum held on Sept. 25 was held not only in the three provinces of the autonomous Kurdish region but also in adjacent Kurdish-held areas, including Kirkuk, that are claimed by both Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan.