Monday, August 15, 2005

Iraqi's Delay Constitution

On the verge of an impending deadline to vote for passage of the new Iraqi constitution, Iraq's parliament voted to extend the proceedings until next Monday to work out some key issues still in dispute.

Although some have portrayed this as a grave setback, Kurdish cabinet minister Barham Saleh said,
"Come on, this is a success; we're not killing each other."
If the Iraqi parliament does not pass the constitution by next week, they will again face the prospect of dissolution.

Among the elements of the constitution being disputed are federalism and the role of religion. The Iraqis don't want to pass a constitution simply for the sake of passing one. One high ranking official said, "
We want to make sure that we Iraqis don't wind up with a 'living breathing' constitution like the Americans. We want a process for making changes to it, but we don't want it to be alterable on a whim."

Regarding the debate over religion, there are some who want an entirely secular state, some who want an entirely Islamic state, and many varieties in between. The same unnamed official told me, "
We don't want a theocracy, like in Iran, but we also don't want religious expression to be stifled, like in America, where people cannot even pray to their God in public."

Reuters story, Iraq constitution drafters get extra week to talk


Mudville Gazette