Sistani Position on New Elections
The office of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani affirmed Saturday in Najaf that he had reservations about the Nov. 15 plan for caucus type elections. Replying to questions from a newspaper, he said (trans. J. Cole):
“First of all, the preparation of the Iraqi State (Basic) Law for the transitional period is being accomplished by the Interim Governing Council with the Occupation Authority. This process lacks legitimacy. Rather the [Basic Law] must be presented to the [elected] representatives of the Iraqi people for their approval.
Second, the instrumentality envisaged in this plan for the election of the members of the transitional legislature does not guarantee the formation of an assembly that truly represents the Iraqi people. It must be changed to another process that would so guarantee, that is, to elections. In this way, the parliament would spring from the will of the Iraqis and would represent them in a just manner and would prevent any diminution of Islamic law.” He added, “Perhaps it would be possible to hold the elections on the basis of the ration cards and some other supplementary information.”
Ayatollah Muhammad Ali Taskhiri, the representative in Najaf of Iran’s Supreme Jurisprudent Ali Khamenei, called for an Islamic constitution for Iraq, and said he was sure that Iraq’s Shiite leadership was aware of the sensitivity of this historic phase.