Breakaway Kurdish region could lead to resurgence of ISIS in Iraq


Catalan independence referendum, 2017

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Catalan independence referendum, 2017
Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?
Location CataloniaSpain
Date 1 October 2017
Votes  %
 Yes 2,020,144 91.96%
 No 176,565 8.04%
Valid votes 2,196,709 97.10%
Invalid or blank votes 65,715 2.9%
Total votes 2,262,424 100.00%
Registered voters/turnout 5,313,564 42.58%
Results by county
Mapa comarcal i municipal de Catalunya.svg
  Yes     No
Provisional results.
Source: Generalitat de Catalunya
Coat of Arms of Catalonia.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

The regional Government of Catalonia held a referendum on Catalan independence on 1 October 2017.[1] This referendum was first called for in June 2017 and was approved by the Catalan parliament in a session on 6 September 2017 along with a law which states that independence would be binding with a simple majority, without requiring a minimum turnout.[2] Opposition parties refused to participate in the session and called on their voters to boycott the vote, except Catalunya Sí que es Potwho abstained but supports participation.[3] The law is illegal according to the Catalan Statutes of autonomy which require a two third majority in the Catalan parliament for any change to Catalonia’s status.[4] The referendum itself is also illegal according to the Spanish constitution.[5] It was suspended by the Constitutional Court on 7 September 2017, with the Catalan government stating the court order was not valid for Catalonia and proceeding to gather the support of 750[6] of 948 municipalities of Catalonia,[7][8][9] including a partial support by Barcelona.[10] This led to a constitutional crisis in Spain and started a police operation to stop the referendum. The referendum question, which voters answered with “Yes” or “No”, was “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?”. The “Yes” side won, with 2,020,144 (91.96%) voting for independence and 176,565 (8.04%) voting against, with the turnout of the countable votes being 42.34%.

The Government of Spain opposes any Catalan self-determination referendum,[11][12] because the Spanish Constitution does not allow for a vote on the independence of any Spanish region while also deeming it illegal without its consent.[13][14] This interpretation is also favoured by the Catalan Statutory Guarantees Council.[15] However, the Catalan government invoked the right to self-determination for calling the referendum. Following a constitutionality check demanded by the Spanish government, the Constitutional Court of Spain annulled the resolution emanated by the Parliament of Catalonia to hold such a vote.[16] The Government of Catalonia, though, maintained that the vote would still be held on 1 October.[1] To avoid the Spanish government’s influence, the Catalan government passed a referendum law through its own parliament, by simple majority, in September[17] declaring that it would then follow a “Catalan-only” legality (as opposed to the general Spanish one). Spain’s deputy prime minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, notified the Catalan government in advance that the state would strike down the referendum law right after it was passed.[17]

On the day of the poll, the passivity of the Mossos d’Esquadra (the autonomous police force of Catalonia) prevented the closure of the polling stations, following which the National Police Corps and the Guardia Civil intervened;[18][19] 893 civilians and 431 agents of the Nacional Police and the Guardia Civil were injured.[20][19][21] The Mossos d’Esquadra are being investigated for a delict of civil disobedience, for not having complied with the orders of the High Court of Justice of Catalonia to prevent the referendum.[22] The United Nations High Commissioner for Human RightsZeid Ra’ad Al, urged the Spanish government to probe all acts of violence that took place to prevent the referendum, through impartial and independent investigations.[23][24]

The Spanish government under the guide of Mariano Rajoy has come under international scrutiny over its use of force on civilians to prevent the referendum.[25][26][27][28][29] After the events of the poll, the European Commission released an official statement: “Under the Spanish Constitution, yesterday’s vote in Catalonia was not legal. (…) Beyond the purely legal aspects of this matter, the Commission believes that these are times for unity and stability, not divisiveness and fragmentation. We call on all relevant players to now move very swiftly from confrontation to dialogue. Violence can never be an instrument in politics. We trust the leadership of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to manage this difficult process in full respect of the Spanish Constitution and of the fundamental rights of citizens enshrined therein.”[30]


Pro-independence flags in Barcelona

Anti-independence graffiti in Badalona

The ballot was initially scheduled for no later than 17 September 2017, a result of an election pledge made by pro-independence parties ahead of the 2015 Catalan election (during the previous legislature, the Catalan government had held a non-binding “citizen participation process” about the question).

The election resulted in a minority government for the Junts pel Sí coalition (JxSí), which had won a plurality of MPs (62 of the 135 seats), plus conditional support from the 10 CUP-CC MPs. Shortly after the government was formed, it resolved to hold a referendum on independence.[31][32][33][34]

2014 self-determination referendum

2015 regional election

Declaration of the Initiation of the Process of Independence

Course of events

Demonstration for Catalan independence in 2010

On 24 January 2017, the Government of Catalonia held a privately organised conference[35] in one of the rooms of the European Parliament in its Brusselsheadquarters. The event, entitled “The Catalan Referendum”, was promoted by Carles Puigdemont, President, Oriol Junqueras, Vice President, and Raül Romeva. It was attended by 500 people, among whom were MEPs, diplomats and journalists from the international media.[36][37][38][39]


The Catalan government’s decree officially calling the referendum was expected to be approved in the second half of August[40] but was approved only on 6 September.[41]

Shortly after the referendum was announced, attention focused on the issue of the ballot boxes, since the Government of Spain is in charge of providing them, whereas for this non-State-sanctioned vote, the Generalitat would have to put them in place, potentially risking prosecution for the misuse of public funds. On 24 March, the Spanish Public Prosecutor’s Office in Catalonia had already announced an inquiry to determine whether a referendum is in the planning.[42]

Tendering by the Catalan government for materials such as ballot papers and envelopes for a putative regional election in the region are thought by some to be an attempt to covertly organise the referendum.[43][44][45]

In terms of its organisation, the electoral roll is one of the main points in contention, since this is managed by the National Institute of Statistics, an autonomous organisation placed under the jurisdiction of the government of Spain. To access its data, polls must have been authorised by the Spanish Congress, something which is out of the question in this case.[46]Without an undisputed access to the electoral roll, the results may be deemed unreliable. Similar difficulties could be met when it comes to the electoral commission to be formed for monitoring the polling and results.[46]

An official announcement by the Generalitat suggested that Catalan residents overseas willing to vote would have to register. By the end of June 2017, out of 285,000 Catalans living abroad and eligible to vote, 5,000 had registered.[47]

Demonstration in BilbaoBasque Country in solidarity with Catalan independence referendum, 16 September 2017

Tensions within the Catalan government

On 3 July 2017, president Puigdemont sacked his Minister for Enterprise, Jordi Baiget (es), who, in the face of the legal challenges, had just expressed doubts regarding the referendum taking place as envisioned by the Catalan government.[48]

Then, on 14 July, Puigdemont proceeded with a cabinet reshuffle, replacing three additional ministers in his cabinet (the ones responsible for Presidency, Education and Interior) in a move widely seen as a removal of the remaining hesitant voices within his cabinet in regards to the referendum issue.[49]

On 17 July, the chief of Catalan police, called Mossos d’Esquadra, resigned without giving any reason. The Catalan police force is seen as key to enforcing any court orders sought by the central government challenging the secession vote.[50]

Additional isolated resignations and dismissals have been noted among some of the high-level civil servants potentially playing a role with the vote’s organisation.[51][52][53][54][55]

Protests in Barcelona after Spanish police raided Catalan government buildings, 20 September 2017


When the Spanish Constitutional court suspended the law on the referendum on 7 September 2017, it forbade several Catalan office holders, the Catalan media, as well as the 948 municipalities of Catalonia to participate in the preparation of the referendum.[56] The municipalities were instructed to reply within 48 hours whether they intended to comply or not. Out of 726 municipalities that answered, 682 announced that they would support the referendum anyway, 41 announced they would refuse to support it, and three, including the municipality of Barcelona, answered without making their intentions clear.[57] Among those that refused to support the referendum, however, there are large population centers,[58] such as the provincial capitals of Lleida (140,000 inhabitants) and Tarragona (130,000 inhabitants) or the cities of Terrassa (215,000 inhabitants) and Hospitalet de Llobregat (250,000 inhabitants) governed by PSC mayors. The mayor of BarcelonaAda Colau, while refusing to make a statement whether the municipality of Barcelona would provide logistical support to the referendum or not, strongly criticised the “language of testosterone” and the pressure that she said was being exerted on the municipalities. Nevertheless, she announced that she would do anything possible to allow those in Barcelona who wished to vote to do so.[59]

Police operation to stop the referendum

A Spanish officer of the National Police Corps in riot gear outside the front of the headquarters of the Catalan political party, Popular Unity Candidacy, on 20 September 2017

On 20 September 2017, following orders of the trial court number 13, the Spanish Civil Guard started Operation Anubis. During the first day, the police officers raided different headquarters of the Generalitat de Catalunya and arrested 14 people, including high-ranking persons, administrative staff, and company CEOs involved in the preparation of the referendum.[60] Simultaneously, several printing companies were searched for ballot papers and ballot boxes. Crowds spontaneously gathered around the regional ministries to support the arrested staff and later on several pro-independence organisations, including the Catalan National Assembly and Omnium Cultural, and called for “peaceful resistance” against the police operation.[61]

During the following days the Spanish Civil Guard and the Spanish National Policewould be reinforced with police officers from the rest of Spain, which are expected to reach 16,000 police and military police officers distributed in different Catalan cities on 1 October 2017, and would continue to carry out searches in companies that allegedly had referendum ballots or ballot boxes.[62] This would spark multiple protest demonstrations all across Catalonia, including cacerolazos during the night. Several other cities of Spain also organised demonstrations against the police operation.[63]


Ballot paper that the Catalan government intended to use in the referendum, in CatalanCastilian Spanish and Aranese Occitan, the three official languages of Catalonia


The Catalan Government announced it planned to hold the referendum on 1 October 2017.

Eligibility to vote

The following people were, according to the Catalan government, entitled to vote in the referendum:

  • Those who have the political condition of Catalan, are 18 years of age or older on the voting day, are not under any of the situations that legally deprive the right to vote and are on the electoral roll.
  • Those Catalans currently residing abroad and who have their last residence in Catalonia, fulfil all the legal requirements, and have formally applied to take part in the voting process.

Electoral supervision

The Electoral Commission of Catalonia was responsible for overseeing the referendum, but was dissolved on September 22, 2017.


The question of the referendum was asked “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?”.

Ballot question
English Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?
Catalan Voleu que Catalunya sigui un estat independent en forma de república?
Spanish ¿Quiere que Cataluña sea un estado independiente en forma de república?
Occitan Voletz que Catalonha vengue un estat independent en forma de republica?


The campaign was planned to last 15 days, spanning from 00:00 on 15 September 2017 to 24:00 on 29 September 2017.[needs update]

Economic repercussions

As of August 2017 the spread between Spanish 10-year government debt and German bonds was close to its narrowest in seven years; however, since the start of July the yield on the Catalan regional government’s bonds had jumped by about 50 basis points,[64] signalling unease among investors in regards to the referendum issue.

Hardliners within the secessionist movement have threatened to call for a general strike in case the referendum eventually does not take place.[64]

Stratfor suggested financial market disruption due to the political upheaval. Predrag Dukic, senior equity sales trader at CM Capital Markets Bolsa, wrote: “The independence movement seeks to paralyze the region with strikes, disobedience, etc., a nightmare scenario for what until yesterday seemed a strong Spanish economic recovery.” Markus Schomer, chief global economist at PineBridge Investments, suggested that the uncertainty both in and outside of Spain has made it hard to price the scenarios into final markets so far. Further he commented a strong approval could result in a euro −0.0255% sell off, just as in the aftermath of the German federal election the previous week. “I don’t think there is an immediate change coming from that referendum. It’ll take quite a bit longer to assess where this is going and what this will mean, how the EU will react, how the Spanish government will react. So I don’t think you’ll see people adjusting their portfolios on Monday, but you could get the classic knee-jerk, risk-off reaction.”[65]

Pre-result responses

One of the many gatherings across the Basque Country in support of the Catalan vote (Zarautz)


  •  Basque Autonomous Community: The regional parliament showed its sympathy and support for the referendum and strongly criticised the Spanish government’s stance on the issue. It denounced any measures taken against the vote or ‘democracy’ altogether.[66] ETA, for its part, issued a statement endorsing the referendum.[67]
  •  Navarre: The parliament of Navarre denounced the Spanish government’s de facto ‘takeover’ of the Catalan devolution and urged it to stop its repressive approach.[68]

UN member states

  •  Belgium: Belgium’s Prime minister Charles Michel reaffirmed the government’s call for political dialogue in Spain, and made an official reaction to the violence used to obstruct the referendum, on Twitter on 1 October : Violence can never be the answer! We condemn all forms of violence and reaffirm our call for political dialogue #CatalanReferendum #Spain.[69]
  •  Croatia: Croatian Prime minister Andrej Plenković stated that Croatia considers this referendum an internal issue of Spain, while Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs called on Spanish and Catalan government’s to launch a dialogue on finding a peaceful solution to the problem.[70]
  •  China: In response to a journalist’s question, on 28 September 2017 foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that the People’s Republic of China believes “the issue of Catalonia belongs to the domestic affairs of Spain. We believe that the Spanish central government can properly handle relevant issues and maintain national solidarity, unity and prosperity”.[71]
  •  France: On 16 June, President Emmanuel Macron stated that he considers the question of Catalan independence as an internal issue of Spain.[72]
  •  Germany: On 8 September, Steffen Seibert, the spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, stated that Germany was interested in stability in Spain and that for this it was necessary that the law, including the Spanish constitution, was respected at all levels.[73] The German government had issued a similar statement previously in 2015.[74]
  •  Hungary: On 18 September, government[which?] spokesman Zoltán Kovács announced that they would “respect the will of the people”. At the same time, he called the independence issue an “internal issue of Spain and Catalonia”.[75][76]
  •  Lithuania:
    • Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė said that the referendum on Catalonia’s independence did not comply with the Spanish Constitution, but to use force is a failure of the Spanish authorities. The President believes that Madrid and Barcelona will, in any case, speak with one another and look for solutions to democratic problems [77]
    • On 28 September, Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius commented that Baltic states’ movement to gain independence from the Soviet Union is not comparable with situation in Catalonia due to Spain being a democracy that follows the rule of law. At the same time he urged both parties to have a constructive dialogue without any unnecessary measures.[78][79]
  •  Portugal: Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva declined to comment on the referendum in Catalonia on 27 September, but believes that the Spanish government will be able to resolve the issue, in agreement with the Spanish constitution and law. Augusto Santos Silva said that this is an internal affair of Spain.[80] In a manifesto signed by almost a hundred people, academics, deputies, journalists, doctors, journalists and notably by the former socialist presidential candidate Manuel Alegre and the former leader of the Left Bloc Francisco Louçã appealed to a “negotiated political solution” to the political situation in Catalonia, considering themselves “outraged” by the civil rights abuses committed by the Spanish Government.[81]
  •  Russia: The head of the international affairs committee at Russia’s upper house Konstantin Kosachev called on the Spanish government to lead a dialogue with the Catalans. Otherwise their contradictions will only deepen, which could end with the breakup of the state, as it is also shown in Ukraine. This polling, like the earlier polling in Iraqi Kurdistan, “is another clear and evident clash of the basic principles the humanity follows: the territorial integrity and the right to self-determination.” “A state should be talking to its citizens, should reach accord. Like we are doing in Russia.”[82]
  •  Serbia: Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dačić, in a interview with Deutsche Welle, stated that Catalonia wants to repeat the example of Kosovo, by declaring unilateral independence without any agreement from Madrid.[83] He stated that Serbia cannot accept such a model and that it is not a political issue but a problem of international law.[83]
  •  Slovenia: Speaker of the National Assembly Milan Brglez stated that the “Catalans have the right to self-determination”.[84]
  •  United Kingdom: Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson described the referendum as an internal issue for Spain, saying “Spain is a close ally and a good friend, whose strength and unity matters to the UK”, while also insisting rule of law be upheld.[85]
  •  United States: On 13 April, the embassy in Madrid stated that the U.S. sees the question of Catalan independence as an internal issue of Spain.[86] On 26 September, President Donald Trump, during his meeting with Mariano Rajoy, said that “Spain is a great country and it should remain united”,[87] but expressed his doubts on whether a referendum will be held, stating that “I think that nobody knows if they are gonna have a vote. The President would say they are not going to have a vote. But I think that the people would be very much opposed to that.”[87] Earlier that month, the State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert insisted in that the referendum is an internal affair of Spain and that the US “will work with whatever government or entity that comes out of it”.[88]

International organisations and institutions

  •  European Union: On 7 September, Antonio Tajani, the President of the European Parliament, stated in a letter to Spanish MEP Beatriz Becerra (UPyD) that the constitutional order of each EU member state needed to be respected at all times. He also stated that if a territory would secede from a EU member state, it would become a third country with respect to the EU and the EU treaties would no longer apply there.[89]On 14 September, the President of the European CommissionJean-Claude Juncker, said that the EU “would follow and respect the rulings of the Spanish constitutional court and parliament”.[90] Further, while the EU would respect the choice if a “yes” for Catalan independence were to come to pass, Juncker stated that Catalonia could not become an EU member the day after the vote.[91]
  •  Council of Europe: The Council of Europe, when consulted by Carles Puigdemont, said that any referendum must be carried out “in full compliance with the constitution”.[17]
  •  United Nations: The UN has refused to participate in the monitoring of the referendum.[92]On 23 September, the UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, Alfred de Zayas, issued a media statement[93] where he advocates for the right of self-determination of Catalan people, reminding “[t]he Spanish Constitution itself stipulates in its articles 10 and 96 the supremacy of international law and in particular international human rights law over of domestic law” and that “self-determination is not limited to the decolonisation context”.

Other political parties, groups and sub-national goverments

  •  United Kingdom:
    • Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the UK Labour Party, issued a statement condemning the violence in Catalonia and called on the British government to appeal to the Spanish government to end its crack-down in Catalonia.[94] Later, previous Labour leader Ed Milliband issued a similar statement, describing scenes as “appalling” and saying “the U.K. government cannot just stay silent”.[95]
    • Northern Ireland: Michelle Gildernew, the Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh South Tyrone, called for international recognition of the referendum.[96]
    •  Scotland: On 16 September, Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs, said: “The decision over Catalonia’s future direction is a matter for the people who live there, and the Catalan and Spanish Governments are perfectly entitled to take positions for and against independence. However, all peoples have the right to self-determination and to choose the form of government best suited to their needs, a principle which is enshrined in the UN Charter.”[97]
    •  Wales: First Minister Carwyn Jones of Welsh Labour talked of “violence replacing democracy and dialogue”,[98]while leader of Plaid Cymru Leanne Wood criticised this position describing violence as “not on both sides”.[99]
  •  IrelandMick Barry TD of Solidarity attended the referendum as an international observer, the party condemned the violence and showed support for the declaration of a general strike [100][101]
    •  Dublin: On 22 September, in a letter to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, the Lord Mayor of DublinMícheál MacDonncha, regretted the legal prosecution of over 700 Catalan Mayors and urged them “to find a political solution to Catalonia’s legitimate claims and ask you to stop threats on my fellow Mayors”.[102]
  •  Denmark: A group of 17 Danish MPs from seven parties criticised the growing tensions in the weeks before the referendum and called on the Spanish government to play a constructive role and encourage political dialogue.[103]
  • European Union European Union ParliamentGregor Gysi, the chairman of the Party of the European Left, condemned the arrests by the Guardia Civil in the run-up to the referendum and called for a political solution to the problem.[104]
  •  Italy:
    • Lega Nord leader Matteo Salvini expressed his solidarity to the Catalan people and his support to the referendum after the arrests of 14 Catalan government officials.[105]
    •  Sardinia: After the actions of the Spanish government against the referendum, the regional government of Sardinia offered to the government of Catalonia by resolution of the regional council to print ballots for the referendum and to guard them, rejecting the actions of the Spanish government against the referendum and their negative attitude towards dialogue.[106]
  •  Flanders: On 20 September, the Minister-President of the Flemish Region Geert Bourgeois said: “I regret the recent escalation with a display of power from both the police and court in the Catalan capital and I urgently call upon the Spanish government to go into dialogue with the Catalan government, the legitimate representative of the Catalan people. If this is currently impossible, there must be international mediation.”[107]
  •   Switzerland: On 27 September, a group of MPs from all parties of the Council of States sent a letter to the Spanish government supporting the Catalan referendum, stating that “without taking a decision on the choice to be made, we believe that the right of the Catalan people to determine their future must be respected”, and condemning the arrests of people and seizure of voting material as “unworthy of a modern and democratic state”.[108]
  •  Rojava: On 29 September, TEV-DEM declared their support for the referendum.[109]

Opinion polls

On the 1 October 2017 referendum

Pollsters generally started using the proposed referendum question (“Do you want Catalonia to be an independent state in the form of a republic?”) after it was revealed in early June 2017.[110]

The Centre for Opinion Studies (Centre d’Estudis d’Opinió, CEO) polled respondents on their intentions rather than asking them the actual referendum question. In its March 2017 poll, aside from asking respondents whether they would want Catalonia to become an independent state, it asked their intents in the event of a referendum on the independence of Catalonia being called and organised by the Generalitat without agreement from the Spanish Government. In a July 2017 poll a similar question was proposed, with the difference that it asked about the actual 1 October referendum.


[hide]Polling firm/Commissioner Fieldwork date Sample size Yes No Other/
Question Lead
Opinòmetre/Ara[p 1] 16 Sep 2017 1,000 44.1 38.1 3.9 13.9 6.0
NC Report/La Razón[p 2][p 3] 1–8 Aug 2017 800 41.5 48.6 9.9 7.1
Opinòmetre/Ara[p 4] 17–20 Jul 2017 1,000 41.9 37.8 4.2 16.1 4.1
GESOP/CEO[p 5][p 6] 26 Jun–11 Jul 2017 1,500 39.0 23.5 23.0 14.5 15.5
NC Report/La Razón[p 7][p 8] 29 Jun–1 Jul 2017 800 44.0 48.6 7.4 4.6
GAD3/La Vanguardia[p 9] 23–29 Jun 2017 ? 42.5 37.6 10.2 9.7 4.9
DYM/El Confidencial[p 10] 22–28 Jun 2017 531 47.0 44.4 8.6 2.6
Opinòmetre/Ara[p 11] 12–15 Jun 2017 1,000 42.3 38.9 6.0 12.8 3.4
GESOP/CEO[p 12] 6–21 Mar 2017 1,500 43.3 22.2 28.6 5.9 21.1

Certain to vote

(Note: voters who were not willing to vote were primarily those opposed to independence and/or a referendum being held, so support for independence among those who were certain to vote was expected to be high.)[111]

[hide]Polling firm/Commissioner Fieldwork date Sample size Turnout Yes No Question Lead
The National[p 13] 30 Sep 2017 3,300 62 83.0 16.0 2.0 67.0
Opinòmetre/Ara[p 1] 16 Sep 2017 1,000 51.0 69.9 14.3 15.8 55.6
Celeste-Tel/[p 14] 12–15 Sep 2017 800 59.9 59.5 30.7 9.8 28.8
Sociométrica/El Español[p 15] 28 Aug–1 Sep 2017 700 50 72.0 28.0 44.0
Opinòmetre/Ara[p 4] 17–20 Jul 2017 1,000 54.9 66.5 18.5 15.0 48.0
GESOP/CEO[p 5] 26 Jun–11 Jul 2017 1,500 67.5 57.8 34.8 7.4 23.0
DYM/El Confidencial[p 10] 22–28 Jun 2017 531 70.1 65.4 28.4 6.2 37.0
Opinòmetre/Ara[p 11] 12–15 Jun 2017 1,000 54.9 67.0 19.0 14.0 48.0

On the independence issue

[hide]Polling firm/Commissioner Fieldwork date Sample size Yes No Other/
Question Lead Question
Sociométrica/El Español[p 16] 28 Aug–1 Sep 2017 700 50.1 45.7 4.2 4.4 [I]
GESOP/CEO[p 5] 26 Jun–11 Jul 2017 1,500 41.1 49.4 9.5 8.3 [II]
GAD3/La Vanguardia[p 17] 7–12 Apr 2017 601 41.9 39.7 9.1 9.3 2.2 [III]
GESOP/CEO[p 12] 6–21 Mar 2017 1,500 44.3 48.5 7.2 4.2 [II]
GAD3/La Vanguardia[p 18] 2–5 Jan 2017 601 42.3 41.9 5.9 9.9 0.4 [III]
NC Report/La Razón[p 19][p 20] 16–23 Dec 2016 1,000 44.8 47.2 8.0 2.4 [IV]
DYM/CEO[p 21] 12–17 Dec 2016 1,047 45.3 46.8 7.8 1.5 [II]
GESOP/El Periódico[p 22] 12–14 Dec 2016 800 48.9 40.3 2.4 8.5 8.6 [V]
Opinòmetre/CEO[p 23] 17 Oct–3 Nov 2016 1,500 44.9 45.1 9.9 0.2 [II]
GESOP/ICPS[p 24] 26 Sep–17 Oct 2016 1,200 46.6 33.8 15.0 4.7 10.2 [VI]
NC Report/La Razón[p 25] 2–6 Aug 2016 1,255 41.3 43.2 15.5 1.9 [VII]
Opinòmetre/CEO[p 26] 28 Jun–13 Jul 2016 1,500 47.7 42.4 10.0 5.3 [II]
GAD3/La Vanguardia[p 27] 13–16 Jun 2016 800 48.4 35.3 7.7 8.6 13.1 [III]
Opinòmetre/CEO[p 28] 22 Feb–8 Mar 2016 1,500 45.3 45.5 9.2 0.2 [II]
NC Report/La Razón[p 29][p 30] 28–31 Dec 2015 1,255 44.1 49.7 6.2 5.6 [VIII]
DYM/El Confidencial[p 31] 30 Nov–3 Dec 2015 504 37.0 54.0 9.0 17.0 [IX]
Feedback/La Vanguardia[p 32] 20–27 Nov 2015 1,000 45.5 48.7 5.2 3.2 [X]
GESOP/CEO[p 33] 16–23 Nov 2015 1,050 46.6 48.2 5.2 1.6 [II]
Opinòmetre/CEO[p 34] 5–27 Oct 2015 2,000 46.7 47.8 5.6 1.1 [II]
2015 Catalan regional election
Feedback/La Vanguardia[p 35] 14–17 Sep 2015 1,000 45.2 45.9 8.9 0.7 [X]
Metroscopia/El País[p 36] 14–16 Sep 2015 2,000 45.0 46.0 9.0 1.0 [XI]
DYM/El Confidencial[p 37] 14–16 Sep 2015 1,157 50.0 42.0 8.0 8.0 [IX]
Sigma Dos/El Mundo[p 38][p 39] 31 Aug–3 Sep 2015 1,400 44.4 46.2 9.4 1.8 [XII]
Feedback/La Vanguardia[p 40] 6–9 Jul 2015 1,000 44.5 48.4 7.1 3.9 [XIII]
Opinòmetre/CEO[p 41] 2–24 Jun 2015 2,000 42.9 50.0 7.1 7.1 [II]
Feedback/La Vanguardia[p 42] 27–29 Apr 2015 1,000 43.7 47.9 8.3 4.2 [XIII]
Opinòmetre/CEO[p 43] 9 Feb–2 Mar 2015 2,000 44.1 48.0 7.8 3.9 [II]
DYM/CEO[p 44] 9–13 Dec 2014 1,100 44.5 45.3 10.3 0.8 [II]
GESOP/ICPS[p 45] 12 Nov–6 Dec 2014 1,200 49.9 27.4 18.8 4.1 22.5 [VI]
Feedback/La Vanguardia[p 46] 1–4 Dec 2014 1,000 47.4 42.9 9.7 4.5 [XIII]
Sigma Dos/El Mundo[p 47] 17–20 Nov 2014 1,000 35.7 44.7 9.6 10.0 9.0 [II]
2014 Catalan self-determination referendum
GESOP/8tv[p 48] 30 October 2014 1,600 46.2 38.0 15.8 8.2 [II]
Opinòmetre/CEO[p 49] 29 Sep–23 Oct 2014 2,000 49.4 32.3 8.4 10.0 17.1 [II]
Sigma Dos/El Mundo[p 50] 26–29 Aug 2014 ? 34.0 39.5 19.2 5.5 [II]
Feedback/La Vanguardia[p 51] 30 Apr–8 May 2014 577 43.4 43.5 13.4 0.1 [II]
Opinòmetre/CEO[p 52] 24 Mar–15 Apr 2014 2,000 47.2 27.9 12.4 12.6 19.3 [II]
GESOP/El Periódico[p 53] 26–28 Feb 2014 800 46.1 36.3 17.6 9.8 [II]
GESOP/El Periódico[p 54] 12–13 Dec 2013 800 44.1 36.2 19.7 7.9 [II]
Feedback/La Vanguardia[p 55] 16–19 Nov 2013 1,000 44.9 45.0 10.1 0.1 [II]
GESOP/CEO[p 56] 4–14 Nov 2013 2,000 54.7 22.1 17.0 6.3 32.6 [VI]
GESOP/El Periódico[p 57] 16–18 Oct 2013 800 53.3 41.5 5.3 11.8 [XIV]
GESOP/ICPS[p 58] 25 Sep–10 Oct 2013 800 48.6 25.2 21.9 4.3 23.4 [VI]
GESOP/CEO[p 59] 31 May–13 Jun 2013 2,000 55.6 23.4 15.9 5.1 32.2 [VI]
GESOP/El Periódico[p 60] 28–31 May 2013 800 57.8 36.0 6.3 21.8 [XIV]
GESOP/CEO[p 61] 4–14 Feb 2013 2,000 54.7 20.7 18.1 6.4 34.0 [VI]
GESOP/El Periódico[p 62] 14–16 Jan 2013 800 56.9 35.0 8.2 21.9 [XIV]
GESOP/ICPS[p 63] 27 Nov–20 Dec 2012 1,200 49.2 29.2 15.1 6.5 20.0 [VI]
2012 Catalan regional election
Feedback/La Vanguardia[p 64] 12–16 Nov 2012 1,000 47.5 40.2 10.1 7.3 [XV]
Feedback/La Vanguardia[p 65] 6–9 Nov 2012 1,000 47.9 39.9 10.2 8.0 [XV]
DYM/CEO[p 66] 22–30 Oct 2012 2,500 57.0 20.5 14.9 7.7 36.5 [VI]
Feedback/La Vanguardia[p 67] 22–26 Oct 2012 1,000 52.8 35.4 9.7 17.4 [XV]
Feedback/La Vanguardia[p 68] 8–11 Oct 2012 1,000 54.3 33.1 10.1 21.2 [XV]
Feedback/La Vanguardia[p 69] 21–27 Sep 2012 1,200 54.8 33.5 10.2 21.3 [XV]
DYM/CEO[p 70] 4–18 Jun 2012 2,500 51.1 21.1 22.1 5.8 30.0 [VI]
DYM/CEO[p 71] 6–21 Feb 2012 2,500 44.6 24.7 25.2 5.5 19.9 [VI]
GESOP/ICPS[p 72] 19 Sep–27 Oct 2011 2,000 43.7 25.1 23.2 8.0 18.6 [VI]
GESOP/CEO[p 73] 29 Sep–13 Oct 2011 2,500 45.4 24.7 24.4 5.6 20.7 [VI]
GESOP/CEO[p 74] 2–17 Jun 2011 2,500 42.9 28.2 23.8 5.2 14.7 [VI]
Noxa/La Vanguardia[p 75] 1–2 Sep 2010 800 40.0 45.0 10.0 5.0 5.0 [XVI]
  1. Jump up^ “Would you prefer your community being an independent state?”
  2. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state?”
  3. Jump up to:a b c “If a legal referendum on the independence of Catalonia was held, what do you think your vote would be?”
  4. Jump up^ “What would you vote in a referendum on the independence of Catalonia?”
  5. Jump up^ “If you went out to vote, would you vote Yes or No to independence?”
  6. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l m “If tomorrow a referendum on the independence of Catalonia was held, what would you do?”
  7. Jump up^ “Do you declare yourself independentist?”
  8. Jump up^ “Do you favour Catalonia’s independence?”
  9. Jump up to:a b “Do you think Catalonia should separate from Spain and become an independent state?”
  10. Jump up to:a b “If a legal referendum was held, do you think you would vote For or Against Catalonia becoming an independent state?”
  11. Jump up^ “If a negotiated and fully legal referendum on the independence of Catalonia was held, what would be your likeliest vote?”
  12. Jump up^ “Do you support Catalonia going independent?”
  13. Jump up to:a b c “If a referendum on the independence of Catalonia was held, what do you think your vote would be?”
  14. Jump up to:a b c “Would you agree on Catalonia separating itself from Spain and becoming a new state within the EU?”
  15. Jump up to:a b c d e “If a referendum on the independence of Catalonia was held, what would you vote?”
  16. Jump up^ “If tomorrow a referendum on the independence of Catalonia was held, what would you vote?”

On whether a referendum should be held

[hide]Polling firm/Commissioner Fieldwork date Sample size Yes No Question Notes
Metroscopia/El País[p 76] 18–21 Sep 2017 2,200 82 16 2 On a legal referendum as the best solution
GESOP/El Periódico[p 77] 19–22 Feb 2017 ? 71.9 26.1 2.0 On the State allowing a referendum
GAD3/La Vanguardia[p 18] 13–16 Jun 2016 800 76.6 19.7 3.6
NC Report/La Razón[p 19][p 20] 16–23 Dec 2016 1,000 51.1 40.7 8.2 On holding a 9N-style referendum
GESOP/El Periódico[p 22] 12–14 Dec 2016 800 84.6 13.8 1.6
49.6 48.8 1.6 On holding a not legal referendum
NC Report/La Razón[p 25] 2–6 Aug 2016 1,255 52.0 35.1 12.9 On agreeing a referendum with the State
GAD3/La Vanguardia[p 27] 13–16 Jun 2016 800 75.7 20.6 3.7
DYM/El Confidencial[p 31] 30 Nov–3 Dec 2015 504 69.0 26.0 5.0 On the need of holding a referendum
Feedback/La Vanguardia[p 32] 20–27 Nov 2015 1,000 78.8 19.9 1.3
Feedback/La Vanguardia[p 35] 14–17 Sep 2015 1,000 79.2 18.6 2.2
Feedback/La Vanguardia[p 40] 6–9 Jul 2015 1,000 79.8 19.4 0.8
Feedback/La Vanguardia[p 42] 27–29 Apr 2015 1,000 79.1 19.4 1.5
Feedback/La Vanguardia[p 46] 1–4 Dec 2014 1,000 83.9 14.5 1.6
NC Report/La Razón[p 78] 13–15 Nov 2014 ? 54.3 39.9 5.8 On holding an agreed referendum
Feedback/La Vanguardia[p 51] 30 Apr–8 May 2014 577 74.0 24.6 1.4
GESOP/El Periódico[p 54] 12–13 Dec 2013 800 73.6 20.0 6.4 On the State authorizing the 9N referendum
Feedback/La Vanguardia[p 55] 16–19 Nov 2013 1,000 73.5 23.6 2.9
GESOP/El Periódico[p 60] 28–31 May 2013 800 75.1 20.8 4.2 On the Government of Spain authorizing a referendum
69.6 25.8 2.3 On holding a referendum
GESOP/El Periódico[p 62] 14–16 Jan 2013 800 62.9 30.5 6.6 On holding a referendum even with the State’s opposition
Feedback/La Vanguardia[p 64] 12–16 Nov 2012 1,000 73.4 24.1 2.5
Feedback/La Vanguardia[p 65] 6–9 Nov 2012 1,000 73.6 24.0 2.4
Feedback/La Vanguardia[p 67] 22–26 Oct 2012 1,000 81.5 17.5 1.0
Feedback/La Vanguardia[p 68] 8–11 Oct 2012 1,000 81.7 17.6 0.7
Feedback/La Vanguardia[p 69] 21–27 Sep 2012 1,200 83.9 14.9 1.2


A person voting in Guinardó, Barcelona

On the day of the poll, the Mossos d’Esquadra failed to execute the direct order issued by the High Court of Justice of Catalonia to close the voting centers before they opened and to confiscate voting materials. This unexpected development forced Spanish police and the Guardia Civil to mount operations to try to execute those orders. The security forces met resistance from citizens that obstructed their access the voting tables and needed the use of force to remove them.[112] In some other incidents the security forces were been surrounded and driven out by the crowds. There were multiple charges using batons in some cases firing of rubber bullets. There were incidents in polling stations in Barcelona, Girona and elsewhere; they forced entry to the premises, ejected the occupants with force, and seized ballot boxes, some of them containing votes. According to the Generalitat de Catalunya, 840 people requested the services of the Catalan emergency health service, this number includes people with irritation by gas and and anxiety attacks. Of those injured, most were minor, but two major injuries were also treated by the emergency health service, a person that suffered a heart attack and another struck by a rubber ball on the eye.[113] According to the Ministry of the Interior 431 agents were injured, 39 of them required immediate medical treatment and the remaining 392 had injuries by bruises, scrapes, kicks and even bites.[20][21] After the first reports of violence, the government canceled the order given to the security forces and they pulled out early from the polling centers.[114][115][116]



Choice Votes  %
Referendum passed Yes 2,020,144 91.96
No 176,565 8.04
Valid votes 2,196,709 97.10
Invalid or blank votes 65,715 2.90
Total votes 2,262,424 100.00
Registered voters and turnout 5,313,564 42.58
Source: Generalitat of Catalonia[117]

The Catalan government estimated that polling stations representing up to 770,000 electors were closed down by police in raids, with any votes cast in those seized and therefore not counted.[118][119] If these votes could have been counted, the participation rate of the referendum would have been not 42.5% but 55% of the voting eligible Catalan citizens.

Results by vegueries

Vegueria Yes No
Votes  % Votes  %
Alt Pirineu i Aran 26,674 95.18 1,350 4.82
Barcelona 1,222,721 89.86 138,031 10.14
Camp de Tarragona 142,386 94.12 8,897 5.88
Catalunya Central 203,653 95.99 8,499 4.01
Girona 243,259 96.02 10,080 3.98
Lleida 118,799 94.98 6,274 5.02
Terres de l’Ebre 62,652 94.80 3,434 5.20
Total 2,020,144 91.96 176,565 8.04

Post-result reactions

Reactions came from a multitude of avenues.

Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum, 2017

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum
Do you want the Kurdistan Region and the Kurdistani areas outside the administration of the Region to become an independent state?
Iraqi Kurdistan in Iraq (de-facto and disputed hatched).svg

Location of Kurdistan in Iraq

  Official claimed borders of Iraqi Kurdistan
  Official borders of Iraqi Kurdistan pre-2014

Undisputed territory of Iraqi Kurdistan     Disputed territory within its official borders which is controlled by Iraqi Kurdistan     Territory outside of its official borders which is controlled by Iraqi Kurdistan     Other territory claimed by Iraqi Kurdistan

Rest of Iraq

Location  Kurdistan RegionIraq
Date 25 September 2017
Votes  %
 Yes 2,861,471 92.73%
 No 224,464 7.27%
Valid votes 3,085,935 92.51%
Invalid or blank votes 249,990 7.49%
Total votes 3,335,925 100.00%
Registered voters/turnout 4,581,255 72.82%
Preliminary official results[1]

An independence referendum for Iraqi Kurdistan was held on 25 September 2017, with preliminary results showing approximately 93 percent of votes cast in favour of independence. Despite reporting that the independence referendum would be non-binding, the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) characterised it as binding,[2][3][4] although they claimed that a positive result would trigger the start of state building and negotiations with Iraq rather than an immediate declaration of independence.[5] 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.[6] Calls for Kurdish independence had been going on for years, with an unofficial 2005 referendum resulting in 98% voting in favor of independence.[7]These longstanding calls gained impetus following the Northern Iraq offensive by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant during the Iraqi Civil Warin 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[8][9]as Kurdish forces co-operated with the Iraqi central government for the liberation of Mosul,[10] but by April 2017, it was being seen as happening some time in 2017.[11] 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.[12]


The Kurdistan Regional Government had criticised Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, claiming that his rule was divisive.[13]After the central government began withholding funding to the Kurdistan Regional Government in January 2014, the KRG attempted to export oil via the northern pipeline into Turkey in May,[14][15] but the Iraqi government lobbied international governments to block the export and sale of this oil.[16]

The flag of Kurdistan flies over the disputed city of Kirkuk after it was abandoned by Iraqi forces in June 2014 as the ISIL militant group approached.

As jihadis affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took control of much of western and northern Iraq in June 2014, the Iraqi military in those areas largely disintegrated and abandoned their positions.[15] The Peshmerga stepped into this vacuum, taking control of the city of Kirkuk[15] and other northern areas long claimed by the Kurdistan Regional Government but until then outside its formal control. In these disputed areas, Kurdish forces under the regional government spearheaded a “concerted campaign” to displace Arab communities in northern Iraq, actions that could amount to war crimes, according to a report by Amnesty International.[17][18]

Nouri al-Maliki’s government was widely blamed for the failure of the security forces and for Sunni Arab dissatisfaction with the central government, and international and domestic calls for a new prime minister became widespread.[13][19] On 1 July, Kurdish president Masoud Barzani announced his intention to call a referendum on independence sometime in 2014 on the grounds that the country had been “effectively partitioned” already.[6]

In September 2014, after Maliki was replaced as prime minister by Haider al-Abadi, Kurdish leaders agreed to postpone the referendum while they focused on the fight against ISIL.[8]

On 3 February 2016, reported that Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani told KRG legislators that the referendum would be held sometime before the 2016 American presidential election in early November.[9] On 23 March, Barzani said, in an interview with Al-Monitor media website, that the referendum would take place before October 2016.[20] However, in late October, Iraqi Kurdistan Prime Minister Nechervan Barzani confirmed that the referendum would not be held until after Mosul had been liberated.[10]

In August 2016, Haider Al-Abadi said that he saw self-determination as an “undisputed right”.[21]

News reports from December 2016 said Iraqi Kurdistan’s Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani had suggested the region could push for independence from Baghdad once the ongoing battle to liberate Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was complete.[22]

In early April 2017, as the liberation of Mosul was progressing, the ruling political parties of Iraqi Kurdistan, the KDP and PUK, announced their goal of holding an independence referendum in 2017.[11]

On 7 June 2017, Kurdish President Masoud Barzani announced that the referendum would take place on 25 September 2017.[23] Barzani’s assistant Hemin Hawrami said the referendum will also take place in KirkukMakhmourSinjar and Khanaqin regions. All of these areas are disputed and are claimed by the central government. Senior Kurdish official Hoshyar Zebari said a “Yes” vote in the referendum wouldn’t mean an automatic declaration of independence, but will “strengthen the Kurds’ hand” in talks on self-determination with the central government.[24]

On 14 August, a delegation from the KRG met with Prime Minister Abadi and Vice-President Maliki in Baghdad to discuss the upcoming referendum and affairs between the KRG and Iraq. Romeo Hakkari, the Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac representative of the delegation and head of the Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party said that in addition to the meeting with Iraqi officials, they would meet with foreign missions in Baghdad.[25][26][27]

The KRG said referendum planning and implementation of the vote was up to the local councils of the disputed regions.[28]The Shingal District Council expressed its support on 30 July for the KRG’s efforts to include the Shingal area in the referendum.[29] The Mayoral Council of Khanaqin on 16 August discussed the issue and decided to hold the referendum in their region.[30] The Bashiqa Town Council voted the next day and decided to take part in the referendum.[31]

After a rare high-level meeting between the Iranian military chief of staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara on 16 August, a joint statement “voiced strong opposition” to the referendum.[32]

The local council of Mandali, whose population includes both Arabs and Kurds, had voted to in favour of including the town in the referendum on 17 August. Arab residents however protested against the decision on 10 September.[33] A day later, the city council withdrew the decision of participation in the referendum while Mandali’s mayor, Hoshiya Ismail, was dismissed from his position.[34]

On 29 August, the Kirkuk Provincial Council voted on the issue of holding the referendum in Kirkuk. Of the 41 council members, 24 attended with 23 voting in favor of holding the referendum while one abstained. The remaining 17 members, all of whom were Turkmen and Arabs, boycotted the vote.[28] On 14 September, the Iraqi parliament voted to dismiss Najmiddin Karim as the Governor of Kirkuk, a decision requested by al-Abadi after Kirkuk’s provincial assembly voted to take part in the referendum.[35] Karim said he will not follow the dismissal order and will stay in office.[36] The provincial council meanwhile condemned the decision of the parliament with council head Ribwar al-Talabani claiming only the council had the power to remove him.[37]

Campaigning for the referendum officially began on 5 September. The region’s electoral commission said the campaigning would last for 18 days with the Iraqi Kurdish diaspora being able to vote on 23 September, two days ahead of the main poll.[38]

The Iraqi parliament rejected the referendum on 12 September.[39] The Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament approved a plan to hold the referendum on 15 September. 68 out of 111 lawmakers attended the session with Gorran boycotting it.[40] Iraq’s Supreme Court on 18 September ordered the suspension of the referendum to examine its constitutionality.[41] Barzani however vowed to go ahead with the referendum.[42]

Media coverage[edit]

It has been reported that pro-AKP news outlets in Turkey including Yeni AkitAksam, Internet Haber[43] and Yeni Safak[44]have been circulating a fake news story[44][45] about “Zionist support” for an “insidious Kurdish plan” by Barzani and Kurdish Jews to settle 200,000 Jews in the region should Kurdistan become independent.[43] The report has been disputed, including by Kurdish analysts, as baseless[45] and fake news,[44] and has been described as part of a media offensive by Turkey against Israel,[43] while Kurdish analyst Diliman Abdulkader considers the reports an attempt to “destroy Kurdish credibility in the region by the association them with Israel and playing on local prejudices against people of Jewish faith”.[45]

Turkey decided to remove broadcaster Rudaw Media Network (Rudaw), which is affiliated to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, from its satellite broadcasting on the same day voting took place on the independence referendum in the KRG.[46]


One poll, held between 25 August and 27 August, which covered the provinces of Arbil, Sulaymaniyah, Duhok, Halabja and Kirkuk, as well as the cities of Khanagin, Jalawla and Mandali within Diyala, showed intention to vote yes at 52.9%, intention to vote no at 25.6%, 3.6% not voting and the remainder of 17.9% being undecided with most of these indicating that they intended to vote yes but were also carefully watching the situation in case it deteriorated.[47]


Ballot paper

The ballot was available in KurdishArabicTurkish and Assyrian.[48]

Ballot question
English Do you want the Kurdistan Region and the Kurdistani areas outside the region’s administration to become an independent state?
Kurdish ئایا دەتەوێ هەرێمی كوردستان و ناوچە کوردستانییەکانی دەرەوەی هەرێم ببێتە دەوڵەتێکی سەربەخۆ؟
Aya detewê herêmî Kurdistan u nawçe Kurdistaniyekanî derewey herêm bibête dewlletêkî serbexo?
Arabic هل تريد أن يصبح اقليم كوردستان و المناطق الكوردستانية خارج الاقليم دولة مستقلة؟
Hal turīd an yaṣbaḥ iqlīm kūrdistān wal-manāṭaq al-kūrdistānīyah khārij al-iqlīm dawlah mustaqillah?
Turkish Kürdistan Bölgesi ve bölge idaresinin dışında kalan Kürdistanlı yörelerin bağımsız devlet olmasını istiyor musunuz?
Assyrian ܐܵܪܵܐ ܒܥܹܐ ܐܵܢܬ ܕܐܸܩܠܹܝܡܵܐ ܕܟܘܼܪܕܸܣܬܵܢ ܘܦܸܢ̈ܝܵܬ݂ܵܐ ܟܘܼܪ̈ܕܸܣܬܵܢܵܝܹܐ ܠܒܼܲܕܲܪ ܡܕܲܒܪܵܢܘܼܬ݂ܵܐ ܕܐܸܩܠܹܝܡܵܐ ܕܦܲܝܫܝܼ ܐܲܬ݂ܪܵܐ ܫܲܠܝܼܛ ܒܝܵܬܼܵܐ؟
Ārā bʿē ānt d’eqlēymā d’kūrdestān w’penyāṯā kūrdestānāyē l’ḇadar mdabrānūṯā d’eqlēymē d’payši aṯrē šaliṭ b’yāṯā?

Party stance[edit]

Parties represented in Kurdistan Region Parliament
Choice Party Seats Leader Political position Ref.
Yes Yes KDP Kurdistan Democratic Party 38 Masoud Barzani Big tent [49]
PUK Patriotic Union of Kurdistan 18 Jalal Talabani Big tent [50]
KIU Kurdistan Islamic Union 10 Salaheddine Bahaaeddin Right-wing [51]
KSDP Kurdistan Socialist Democratic Party 1 Mohammed Haji Mahmoud Centre-left [52]
KCP Communist Party of Kurdistan – Iraq 1 Kamal Shakir Far-left [53]
KTP Kurdistan Toilers’ Party 1 Balen Mahmoud Left-wing [54]
KIM Kurdistan Islamic Movement 1 Erfan Ali Abdulaziz Big tent [54]
TDL Turkmen Development List 2 Mohammad Sadaddin Moderate Islamic [55]
CSAPC Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Popular Council 2 Sarkis Aghajan Minority-rights [56]
ETL Erbil Turkmen List 1 Minority-rights [54]
KIG Kurdistan Islamic Group 6 Ali Bapir Big tent [57]
Gorran Gorran Movement 24 Omar Said Ali Centre-left [58]
 No ITF Iraqi Turkmen Front
(Will support referendum if conditions are met)[59]
1 Erşad Salihi Minority-rights [60]
ADM Assyrian Democratic Movement
(Against referendum being held in the Nineveh Plains)[61]
2 Younadam Kanna Minority-rights [62]

Referendum reactions[edit]

UN member states[edit]

Iraq and regional countries[edit]

  •  Iraq: Saad al-Hadithi, a spokesman for the Iraqi Prime Minister, said, “Any decision concerning the future of Iraq must take into account the constitutional provisions, it is an Iraqi decision and not one party alone. All Iraqis must have a say in defining the future of their homeland. No single party can determine the future of Iraq in isolation from the others.”[63]
  •  Iran: The Iranian Government claimed that the unilateral referendum is inconsistent with the Iraqi constitution and that “the Islamic Republic of Iran’s principled and clear stance is supporting Iraq’s territorial integrity and coherence”.[64] Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said “Iran opposes holding talks of a referendum to partition Iraq and considers those who fuel the idea as opponents of Iraq’s independence.”[65] Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to Ali Khamenei on international affairs, said “President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Massoud Barzani is a middleman for Zionists, who seeks to implement their plans for the division of Muslim states.”[66]
  •  Israel: Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu states that Israel “supports the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to achieve their own state.”[67]
  •  Jordan: Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said the referendum was an internal Iraqi affair.[68]
  •  Saudi Arabia: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said through the Saudi Press Agency, “[Saudi Arabia] looks to the wisdom of President Barzani in not holding the referendum.”[69]
  •  Syria: Adviser to the Council of Ministers Said Azzouz said any unilateral action is rejected and that Syria cannot accept the division of Iraq, and that independence needed legal provisions from the Iraqi constitution.[70]
  •  TurkeyThe Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government‘s decision to hold an independence referendum was a “grave mistake”.[71] On 19 July 2017, Ambassador Hüseyin Müftüoğlu, in response to a question regarding the claims in the KRG press, claimed that they were distorting Turkey’s position against the KRG’s referendum decision.[72] Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said: “A decision by the authorities in the Kurdistan Region to hold a referendum on the independence of Kurdistan on September 25 is irresponsible”.[73] An AKPMP Mehmet Galip Ensarioğlu said: “People should respect the decision of the people of Kurdistan”.[74] The head of the Nationalist Movement PartyDevlet Bahçeli, said, “Let us look at the national unity of our country, the Barzani gang would make a referendum on independence on September 25th, which is called disgrace, shame and betrayal.”[75] The left-wing Peoples’ Democratic Party supported the referendum.[76] President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the referendum wouldn’t serve anyone’s interests, calling it a threat to the territorial integrity of Iraq and expressed regret over it.[77] On 14 September, the Foreign Ministry of Turkey warned Iraqi Kurdistan that it would “pay dearly” if the referendum was not abandoned.[78] On 26 September, Erdoğan called the referendum decision “treachery” and said economic and military measures could be used against the Iraqi Kurds.[79][80] Turkey halted the flights of the Turkish airline companies to northern Iraq on September 29, 2017, until further notice at the request of Baghdad, following the referendum.[81]

Other states[edit]

  •  ArmeniaArmenian Foreign Affairs Ministry Eduard Nalbandyan said it hopes for a pacific settlement of the situation in connection with the Iraqi Kurdistan referendum on independence. He also states that Armenia expects the Iraqi authorities and the regional authorities of Iraqi Kurdistan to be able to avoid tension, and find the avenues for resolving the matters.[82]
  •  Australia: A spokeswoman for the foreign affairs department said in a statement, “Holding a referendum at this time risks causing further instability in Iraq that would weaken both the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan regional government”.[83]
  •  Belgium: In an interview with NRT News after meeting Deputy Prime Minister of KRG Qubad Talabani, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium Jan Jambon said all nations have the right to self-determination.[84] Belgian ambassador to Iraq Hendrik Van de Velde said Belgium did not have an official stance on this issue.[85]
  •  Bulgaria: Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said Bulgaria had listened to President Barzani when he visited the country in May 2017, but had no official stance on this issue.[86]
  •  Canada: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remained neutral about the referendum process and did not get involved, citing the Quebec sovereignty issue. Trudeau said he is sensitive to other countries getting involved in another country’s internal decisions and that he will respect the process established by the Kurds.[87]
  •  ChinaForeign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang expressed support to Iraq’s territorial integrity but asked for an open dialogue in a daily news briefing.[88]
  •  France: President Emmanuel Macron said, “If this referendum is held, I hope it leads to the proper representation of Kurds in government and within the framework of the [Iraqi] Constitution.”[89]
  •  Germany: Germany warned against Erbil making a unilateral decision in a “one sided” referendum.[90]
  •  Greece: Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said Iraq’s unity should be desired by the people themselves and that the Kurdish referendum is a right under the Iraqi constitution.[91] During a meeting discussing the upcoming referendum, Greek Ambassador to Iraq Dionyssios Kyvetos announced that Greece was upgrading its diplomatic representation in Erbil to a consulate.[92]
  •  Italy: The Kurdistan Region’s representative to Italy Rezan Qader said Italian officials expressed their support for the Kurdish referendum in a meeting.[93][better source needed]
  •  Netherlands: Dutch Consul General to Kurdistan Region Janet Alberda said the referendum would be more accepted, if it was coordinated with Baghdad.[94]
  •  PolandDeputy Marshal of the Sejm Stanisław Tyszka said Poland would approve the referendum.[95] Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said he “perfectly understand the ambitions of Kurds”, but urged Kurdish officials to cooperate with others.[96]
  •  Russia: Russian President Vladimir Putin commented on the issue by stating that Russia understands the sensitivity around the Kurdish cause and that their position is that the referendum should be within international law.[97]
  •  Spain: The Spanish Foreign Ministry released a statement saying “This referendum is illegal in accordance with the Iraqi constitution of 2005, which received broad support from the population. Now all the people of Iraq must join forces to defeat ISIL once and for all, to build the country for the benefit of the entire population”.[98]
  •  Sweden: Both governmental parties; the Social Democratic Party and the Green Party have expressed their support for the referendum. Opposition parties Sweden Democrats and the Left Party have also uttered their support.[99]
  •  United Kingdom: On behalf of the British government, British consul to Kurdistan Region Frank Baker said the United Kingdom recognises “the inalienable right of everybody around the world to be free and to decide on their own governments”, but that it’s not the right time for this. He said a referendum should be held with Iraqi consent.[100] Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson echoed the position, stating that “a referendum at this time will distract from the more urgent priorities of defeating Daesh, stabilising liberated areas and addressing the long-term political issues that led to Daesh’s rise”.[101]
  •  United StatesUS State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said: “We support a unified, stable and a federal Iraq. We appreciate and understand the legitimate aspirations of the people of the Iraqi Kurdistan.” Nauert warned that the referendum could distract from the final defeat of ISIL. “We have expressed our concerns to the authorities in the Kurdistan Region, but holding a referendum even a non-binding resolution at this time would distract from urgent priorities and that be the defeat of ISIS, the stabilization, the return of displaced people, managing of the region’s economic crisis, and resolving the region’s internal political disputes,” she said.[102] Negative reaction from the U.S. State Department is likely due to the United States’ military alliance with Turkey. United States Senator and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer(DNY) on September 27 became the first senator to call for US support for Kurdish independence following the results of the referendum, releasing a resolution calling for the US government to change its policy to “support a political process that addresses the aspirations of the Kurds for an independent state”, reasoning that the KRG had been “our most supportive partners on the ground in the fight against terrorism”, and said that “neighboring countries… led by despots, who oppose a Kurdish state because it threaten’s their self-interests, need to respect the need for the Kurds – and the Iraqis – to determine their own future”. He called upon Iraq to ““engage in a dialogue and peacefully determine the best way to accommodate the well-deserved and legitimate aspirations of the Iraqi Kurds”.[103] On September 30, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated, “The United States does not recognize the … unilateral referendum. … The vote and the results lack legitimacy, and we continue to support a united, federal, democratic and prosperous Iraq”.[104]

Other political entities[edit]

Regional actors[edit]



Choice Votes  %
Referendum passed Yes 2,861,471 92.73
No 224,464 7.27
Valid votes 3,085,935 93.35
Invalid or blank votes 219,990 6.65
Total votes 3,305,925 100.00
Registered voters and turnout 4,581,255 72.16
Source: KHEC
92.73% 7.27%
Yes No


Following the referendum, the Kurdistan Regional Government started making plans for state building and future negotiations with Iraq before a declaration of independence for Republic of Kurdistan would be issued. Iraq demanded that the Kurdistan Regional Government hand over control of its two international airports by 29 September or face a shutdown of international flights.[5]

The Iraqi government also threatened to send troops to Kirkuk, a city with rich oil deposits. Troops also blocked routes between Mosul and Dahuk on the day prior to the referendum.[104]

Following the referendum, wild celebrations erupted in Iranian Kurdistan and two days of pro-independence demonstrations, which included the singing of the anthem of the Republic of Mahabad, occurred in the Kurdish cities of BanehSanandaj and Mahabad, leading to mass arrests.[121]