Iraq draft charter inked despite objection of Sunnis
Members of Iraq's constitution drafting committee inked the draft charter Sunday after making some amendments, a Shiite on the committee disclosed, and later held a ceremony to mark the completion of the draft.
The draft will now go to the Iraqi people in an Oct. 15 referendum. Five million copies will be distributed nationwide for this purpose.
The amendments were made with the hope of appeasing the Sunni minority, including removing the word "party" from the phrase about Saddam Hussein's Baath Party and allowing the parliament to be elected in December.
Earlier on Sunday, Sunni negotiator Sadoun Zubaydi said "this is the end as far as the marginalized groups are concerned" and "as far as the drafting process is concerned. "We now have to see how to proceed from here," he said, according to The AP.
During the ceremony, Iraqi president Jalal Talabani said that Iraq's draft constitution was ready to be put to a national vote. "The draft constitution is ready and will be presented to the Iraqi people, who are known for their intelligence, to give their verdict on October 15," Talabani told reporters, according to AFP.
"There are objections from our Sunni Arab brothers... but nobody can claim that they represent the whole spectrum of Sunni Arabs," said the president. He added the draft when approved by the people would become the "fundamental law" of the nation. "If the nation rejects it, we will write another one," said Talabani.
On Sunday, Iraq's parliament held a special session on the draft constitution but did not vote on it.
The draft was read out before the lawmakers after it was presented in parliament by Sheikh Humam Hammudi, the head of the constitution drafting panel grouping Iraq's majority Shiites with Kurds and Sunni Arabs.