Iraq Constitution Officially Ratified

Iraq’s constitution, adopted in a October 15 referendum, has now been officially certified.

Draft Constitution Adopted by Iraqi Voters (AP)

Iraq’s landmark constitution was adopted by a majority of voters during the country’s Oct. 15 referendum, as Sunni Arab opponents failed to muster enough support to defeat it, election officials said Tuesday. Results released by the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq showed that Sunni Arabs, who had sharply opposed the draft document, failed to produce the two-thirds “no” vote they would have needed in at least three of Iraq’s 18 provinces to defeat it.

Nationwide, 78.59 percent voted for the charter while 21.41 percent voted against, the commission said. The charter required a simple majority nationwide with the provision that if two-thirds of the voters in any three provinces rejected it, the constitution would be defeated.

“Whatever the results of the referendum are … it is a civilized step that aims to put Iraq on the path of true democracy,” Farid Ayar, an official with the electoral commission, said before reading the final results.

Two mostly Sunni Arab provinces — Salahuddin and Anbar — had voted against the constitution by at least a two-thirds vote. The commission, which had been auditing the referendum results for 10 days, said a third province where many Sunnis live — Ninevah — produced a “no” vote of only 55 percent.

This doesn’t magically transform Iraq into a functioning democracy. Still, a major step toward that end.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, , ,
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.