The province of Kirkuk in Iraq has just voted for a referendum to determine if the region will join the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) or remain part of the Baghdad government.
|The vote was held by members of the Kirkuk provincial council on April 4. The move is seen as likely to increase tensions between the KRG and many in the region. The referendum decision comes just a week after the council voted in favor of flying the Kurdish flag on municipal buildings in the city of Kirkuk. The Turkmen minority in the city protested the flag-raising. Arab members of the provincial council boycotted the vote on the referendum. Najmaldin Karim, Kirkuk's governor, said: "If there is a referendum for Kurdistan, that should include Kirkuk as well. We have a lot of grievances with Baghdad. It’s a strong, centralized and inefficient, incompetent administration. Baghdad is very controlling, and the constitution says Iraq should be federal." Kurds have long claimed Kirkuk and the huge oil reserves in the area and after the Iraqi army retreated, Kurdish peshmerga ended up in control of the area.|