Nouri al-Maliki, leader of the Iraqi Shi’ite political party of Dawa, said they will endorse the outcome of the Kurdistan Region independence referendum provided that the referendum does not include Kirkuk province, according to Iraqi media. Iraqi local news outlets have reported that Maliki, who is also the Iraqi VP, has stated that they will approve the result of the referendum for the Kurdistan Region independence if the process is held only in the three Kurdish provinces of Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Duhok. He has stated that the referendum cannot be conducted in Kirkuk, claiming that it is an Arabic city. However, Salah Dalo, a Kurdish official from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), told BasNews that Maliki does not have the right to intervene in the Kurdistan Region’s affairs. He stated that the referendum will include all the disputed areas within the Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution, stressing that the referendum will be held this year. The Kurdish official described Maliki’s remarks as an attempt to cover his failures and gain Arab public support.