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Iraqi Constitution Deadline Expires Today

15 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Iraqi leaders are holding last-minute talks to agree on the country's new constitution, hours before parliament is scheduled to review a draft of the charter.

Shi'ite and Kurdish leaders, including Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Ja'fari and President Jalal Talabani met today, and a meeting with leaders of all main parties is expected later in the day.

Parliament has scheduled a special session for late in the afternoon to consider the draft but it is still not clear whether the document would be ready on time.

Hussain al-Shahristani, the deputy speaker of parliament, said that if that does not happen, parliament will have to decide whether to extend the deadline by two or three weeks.

Once it is approved by parliament, the draft constitution must be voted on in a referendum, currently scheduled for October.


Copyright (c) 2005. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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