August 28, 2005

Putting the Con In Constitution

I really can't get a good read on what is up with the drafting of the Iraqi Constitution. Some say its done:

Sheik Humam Hammoudi, a Shiite and chairman of the drafting committee, said 5 million copies of the constitution will be circulated nationwide in food allotments each Iraqi family receives monthly from the government. Unlike the January elections, Iraqis will not be allowed to vote outside the country because of the difficulty in applying the three-province veto.

Others seem not quit ready to sign off:

Sunni negotiators delivered their rejection in a joint statement shortly after the draft was submitted to parliament. They branded the final version as "illegitimate" and asked the Arab League, the United Nations and "international organizations" to intervene against the document.

Intervention is unlikely, however, and no further amendments to the draft are possible under the law, said a legal expert on the drafting committee, Hussein Addab.

This is not the clear victory that the Bush team was looking for to stop the bleeding. In the past they have been able to use one-time events like the Jan election or the capture of Saddam to halt or even reverse the steady drip, drip of bad news. But it is a real open question as to the ratification of this new Constitution.

Although Sunnis account for only 20 percent of Iraq's estimated 27 million people, they still can derail the constitution in the referendum due to a concession made to the Kurds in the 2004 interim constitution. If two-thirds of voters in any three provinces reject the charter, the constitution will be defeated. Sunnis have the majority in at least four provinces.

Defeat of the constitution would force new elections for a parliament that would begin the drafting process from scratch. If the constitution is approved, elections for a fully constitutional parliament will be in December.

I think its time to start putting some polls in the field. Is the Constitution going to pass?

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