Iraq Draft Constitution Presented to Parliament
Iraq’s draft constitution has been submitted to parliament just in time to meet the extended deadline.
Iraq delays vote on draft constitution [sic] (CNN)
Iraq’s National Assembly Speaker Hachim al-Hasani said Monday that the country’s constitutional committee has presented a draft to parliament and that a vote would take place within three days.
Shiite members of Iraq’s constitutional committee earlier in the day said they would present an incomplete document to the assembly without full agreement from their panel’s Sunni Arab members. Shiites and Kurds have agreed on the issue of federalism — the degree of power held by provinces versus that held by a centralized government — while the Sunnis haven’t come onboard, Shiite member Jalal al-Din al-Sagheer said before the deadline. “The majority [of the committee] is for federalism,” al-Sagheer said. “As for the Sunnis, some got to acceptance; some accept federalism with conditions; and some rejected it.”
Sunni members of the committee rejected the move, with negotiator Saleh Mutlag saying the draft would be a losing proposition “for the Americans and even the Iraqis, even those what are going to be in the government.” “This constitution does not include the Sunni voice,” Mutlag said. “It doesn’t include other voices in Iraq.” But al-Sagheer said that time constraints required action.
A referendum on the constitution has been set for no later than October 15, and the deadline for a draft to be presented was midnight (4 p.m. ET) Monday. The original deadline was August 15, but stumbling blocks in the negotiations prompted the transitional National Assembly to extend it a week.
Al-Sagheer said that the draft writers could not wait until the Sunnis reach a consensus among themselves.
Al-Sagheer has identified the problem precisely: The “Sunnis” are not a monolith. Indeed, virtually the entirety of the “insurgency” is Sunni and there is little consensus among even the factions that wish to participate in the democratic process. That does not mean, of course, that working around the Sunnis will create a satisfactory outcome; it does mean that the Shia and Kurds have little choice.