The president of the Kurdish Regional Government, Massoud Barzani, asked the parliament of the autonomous region on Thursday to set a date for a referendum on independence from Iraq, Al Arabiya correspondent reported.

Farhad Sofi, a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), also told Reuters that Barzani asked the parliament to “to form an independent electoral commission to carry out a referendum in the Kurdistan region and determine the way forward.”

President Barzani did not offer a timetable on the proposed committee’s work of organizing a referendum, several Kurdish lawmakers said.

The Kurdish leader blamed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for the instability in Iraq.

“We warned Maliki six months ago about what’s happening but he did not listen and these are the consequences,” Barzani reportedly told the Kurdish lawmakers.

“What we see today on the ground is due to the failure of Maliki’s policy in Iraq,” he added, insisting that the Peshmerga force will not leave areas it has controlled last month.

Peshmerga moved in to seize the northern city of Kirkuk, and other disputed areas in the provinces of Nineveh and Diyala, after the Maliki’s forces collapsed when rebels led by the Islamist militants launched a surprise onslaught last month.

Kirkuk and the other areas have mixed Arab and Kurdish population and their fate was supposed to be decided under Article 140 of the constitution in a referendum that never took place.

source: alarabiya.net