Shiites put breaks on constitution in order to have a majority
Baghdad (AsiaNews) The signing of Iraq's temporary constitution was expected to take place yesterday, March 5. However it has been postponed to a later date still to be assigned.
At the provisional government building, where the draft should have been signed, all Provision Governing Council (PGC) members were present except 5 Shiite representatives. Over the course of the past few weeks almost all points of disagreement were resolved but there are still a few which for Shiites are unacceptable.
The issues are:
1) the assigning of duties to the president of the republic, his two vice presidents and those of the prime minister (a position highly desired by Shiites) based on religious creed.
2) the article of the constitution concerning geographic federalism, according to which each federal state must contain 3 provinces. Shiites believe that this article divides them among more federal states, making them lose their power which they would normally have as a majority in the country as a single whole. It must be pointed out that the criteria for being a "majority" do not apply to women. Despite forming 60% of the Iraqi population, they are entitled to only 25% of seats in parliament -as wanted by Shiites.
3) majority vote in Parliament: the draft stipulates 2/3 constitutes a majority; however Shiites insist that 51% of votes is enough, assuring them victory in each voting. The draft furthermore stipulates that to abolish a future constitution all that is needed are the negative opinions of three religions. Since Iraqi Kurdistan is composed of 3 religions, Shiites fear this factor will nullify any moves they make.
Many analysts believe that the draft, as it now stands, is already a good product, stating that the constitution contains democratic ideas which have never been seen in neighboring Persian Gulf countries. If approved, the constitution will be valid for 2 years.In the last few days PGC members reached compromises on various issues such as federalism, as well as the roles which women, religion and the Islamic Shariah law will play in legislation. In addition comprises were reached on problems concerning the autonomy of Kurds and the future disarmament of paramilitary militia (Kurdish militants). (PB)