UPDATE ~ Top Iraqi Sunnis speak out against constitutional draft

[JURIST] Following up on an earlier report on JURIST's Paper Chase, four Sunni Iraqi Cabinet members and one Deputy Prime Minister on Saturday announced their reservations with the proposed draft constitution [English translation; JURIST news archive]. The statement, filed by Culture Minister Nouri Farhan al-Rawi, Minister of State for Women's Affairs Azhar Abdel-Karim, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Saad al-Hardan, Industry Minister Osama al-Najafi and Deputy Prime Minister Abed Mutlaq al-Jbouri, contained a list of thirteen demands [AP report] that should be made to the draft before it will meet their approval. The demands include giving the drafting committee enough time to reach consensus on unresolved issues, postponing the question of a federal state, referring the issue of de-Baathification to the Justice Ministry rather than dealing with it in the constitution, and giving the next National Assembly the power to introduce constitutional amendments. Sunni agreement on the constitution is legally significant because of the Sunni majority in four provinces; a two-thirds rejection of the constitution in three provinces during the November referendum will defeat the draft, according to the Transitional Administrative Law [text]. The dissent of major Sunnis is also a major blow to the long-term US strategy in Iraq; President Bush's Saturday radio address [Real Audio, text transcript] expressed hope that as the Sunnis and other groups worked towards a constitutional compromise, Sunnis would leave the insurgency and US forces could be called home. AP has more.



 

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