Polls close in Iraqi Kurdistan for independence referendum

Erbil (Iraq): Polling places in the northern autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan closed on Monday following an independence referendum, election officials said.

Kurdistan’s Independent High Electoral and Referendum Commission said it extended voting for one hour due to the high turnout, Efe reported.

Some 76 per cent of voters, according to official figures, had cast ballots in Iraqi Kurdistan and the areas disputed with the Iraqi government, Hemin Hawrani, senior assistant to Iraqi Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani, said.

At the polling places that the media had access to, international observers said there had not been any incidents.

The commission did not provide details on when results would be released, but some observers said vote totals would be announced within 24 to 48 hours.

The region has enjoyed considerable autonomy since the early 1990s, a status bolstered in the 2005 constitution that defined Iraq as a federal state.