Iraqi chairman: Constitution deadline unlikely to be met
Iraq's drafting committee chairman Humam Hammoudi announced on Tuesday that three days would probably not be enough to approve the final draft of the document by Thursday's deadline.
Negotiators said that the document may need to be presented to parliament without the approval of Sunni groups who have so far objected to certain positions of the document regarding wording on federalism, the Baath party, Islamic law in Iraq and other issues.
If this were the case, the constitution would then be submitted for public referendum on October 15, a scenario that troubles some who feel that a Sunni backlash might result.
US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad urged the Iraqis to work "in spirit of compromise". He said that "every effort needs to be made" to win Sunni Arab support for the draft and that Shiite and Kurdish groups should appeal to Sunnis in the interest of Iraqi unity.
Prime Minister Ibrahim Al Jaafari, a Shiite, also appeared to make an overture to the Sunni minority, saying " Our Sunni Arab brothers faced some circumstances in the past that prevented them from having real representation (in parliament) in what is equal to their demography and we hope that in the future they will be better represented."
Iraqi leaders completed the current draft on Monday night minutes before a midnight deadline. Voting on the document was delayed to give Sunni negotiators time to amend and accept it.