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Iraqi Government Praises Constitutional Process

23 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The Iraqi government today praised the drafting process of the country's proposed constitution.

Spokesman Laith Kubba said that in the end, the Iraqi people can accept or reject the document.

The constitutional draft was submitted to parliament late on Monday by Kurdish and Shi'ite members of the drafting committee.

But lawmakers deferred a vote on the draft because of Sunni Arab resistance. Members of the drafting committee were given three more days to work out differences.

Deputy Jawad al-Maliki said the Sunnis presented conditions for accepting the federalist concept.

"There has been an agreement on federalism among most of the parties," al Maliki said. "Only the Sunni Arab brothers have laid down conditions for accepting federalism. The conditions are that, for federalism to be implemented, it must be approved by two- thirds of the members of the [respective] governorate councils, plus two-thirds of the inhabitants of the [respective] governorates, plus two-thirds of the next National Assembly."

The Sunnis -- who dominated Iraqi society under deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein -- oppose decentralization, fearing it would cut them out of the country's oil wealth and leave them powerless.


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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