Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Iraqi Committee Punts On Constitution Changes

By Cernig

According to Reuters, the committee which was looking at the proposed changes to the Iraqi constitution has "agreed to pass its draft to parliament next Tuesday -- albeit with some passages unresolved," to avoid missing a May 15th deadline.

And what a set of unresolved passages!
Saleem al-Jubouri, from the Sunni Accordance Front, said the constitutional reform committee had agreed to pass its draft to parliament next Tuesday -- albeit with some passages unresolved.

He said this would allow it technically to meet a May 15 deadline set by the constitution.

"There is a preliminary report that has been approved by committee members," he told Reuters. "Members now have to consult their political parties on the proposals."

But he said some thorny issues had been left open, for parliament to resolve. These included a Shi'ite-backed law that allows provinces to form federal regions, and wording on the Arab identity of Iraq, opposed by Kurds.

In another sign of political progress, Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi said the presidential council would soon send to parliament a draft proposal to allow thousands of ex-Baath party members to return to public jobs, another Sunni demand.

...The bills are likely to face fierce debate in parliament.

Some lawmakers from the ruling Shi'ite community, who were oppressed during Saddam's rule, have expressed virulent opposition to seeing former Baathists take up government jobs.

Kurds, meanwhile, are afraid of a return to the kind of discrimination they suffered under Saddam's pan-Arab policies.

But Sunni Arabs fear federalism will allow Kurds in the north and Shi'ites in the south, where Iraq's oil reserves lie, to break away into their own states. Sunni Arabs live mostly in central and western Iraq, which is poor in oil.
Anyone thinking these unresolved issues will get magically resolved in the near future may as well wish for a pony.

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