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Iraqi Parliament Extends Deadline For Constitution

15 August 2005 -- Iraq's parliament voted tonight to amend the country's interim law and to set a new 22 August deadline to finalize the constitution, after today's deadline was missed.

The parliament members passed the amendment with a show of hands. The move came after Minister of Planning Barham Saleh said on Al-Arabiyah television today that a complete agreement on a constitution could not be reached and that the constitutional council will seek a postponement.

Saleh said the draft will be presented to the National Assembly and that meetings to find an agreement will continue during the postponement.

But he said that if no agreement is reached the National Assembly will be dissolved and general elections for a new parliament will be called.

The Iraqi parliament session to consider the draft constitution opened in Baghdad only less than one hour before the midnight deadline to finalize the charter.

(international agencies)

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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