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.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. dutchmarbel says:
  2. Ken Taylor says:

    I wonder now that the draft has been presented and the Parliament has three days for , “fine tuning ” before the vote, how many on the left will call this a failure because some of the constitution is in disagreement with what we stand for in the US. The Iraqi’s are the people who have to live with this and the westernization that is within the country I believe will prevent a radical Islamic state from developing. Remember our Constitution went through the fine tuning process for many years!

  3. Darryel Roberds says:

    I hate to throw a wrench into Ken’s observations but if we (the United States) are not trying to get the Iraqis to develop a democracy very similar to ours WHAT THE HELL ARE WE DOING THERE? Have you read the basic provisions of the proposed constitution and the disagreements of some of these provisions. For one thing the constitution will “recognize” a STATE religion and give special powers to the Muslim clergy. This will ensure the failure of any so called “democracy” up front. Another BIG bone of contention is the demands by the Sunnis that they be given a specific portion of ALL Iraqi Oil Profits even if they do NOTHING to earn it. If the first thing mentioned here does not shoot down the “democratic processes” in Iraq, this one certainly will. The United States (George Bush) has made the biggest blunder in our entire history with our adventures in Iraq.