Put Kirkuk to a vote, analysts say

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Sign the petition for Iraq's three-region solution August 20, 2008 Put Kirkuk to a vote, analysts say

UPI

The status of the ethnically diverse city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq may be best settled by a public vote on the matter, analysts said.

The Iraqi Constitution calls for a reversal of the demographic policies of Saddam Hussein, who forcibly displaced the Kurdish population from the oil-rich region. Skirmishes in the Kurdish areas of Iraq erupted following a failed referendum on the provincial elections law that included a provision on Kirkuk.

Iraqi lawmakers were scheduled to decide the status of the city in December, but the provision stalled when ethnic Arabs and Turkomen accused their Kurdish counterparts of influencing regional demographics in their favor.

Solutions to the matter vary, with some residents calling for unification with greater Iraq and some ethnic communities calling for the annexation of Kirkuk by the Kurdistan Regional Government, the U.N. Integrated Regional Information Networks said Tuesday.

But many scholars and Iraqi lawmakers say the matter is best left for the people of Kirkuk to decide in a public referendum.

"I do believe that the best solution for Kirkuk is that it be run as a separate region -- after resolving all pending issues between its segments, conducting a census and then letting its population determine its fate through a referendum, instead of one party imposing a solution," said Amer Hassan al-Fayadh with Baghdad University.

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