Debate Begins On Constitutional

Debate Begins on Constitutional Provisions in Iraq

Alissa Rubin of the Los Angeles Times has a fine piece today discussing debates in Iraq over the Fundamental Law that will govern the country until a constitution is crafted.

She points out that several members of the Interim Governing Council reject the idea of a 3-man rotating presidency, in part on the grounds that it may institutionalize ethnic divisions and will be inefficient (Bosnia is cited as an example of how it can go bad).

She also reveals that Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and Abdu’l-Aziz al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for Islamic revolution in Iraq, have prepared their own team of census and electoral experts to make the case to the United Nations Commission being sent by Kofi Annan that free and open elections are possible.

[Al-Sharq al-Awsat reports that Adnan Pachachi of the IGC says that the UN Commission’s recommendations will not be binding on the governing council. Pachachi is angry about the extent of Shiite power and the influence of Sistani, as are many Sunnis.]

The Fundamental Law will have a bill of rights, and will try to ensure representation in parliament of women (some percentage of seats will be set aside for female candidates, as in Pakistan). But it will also specify Islamic law as a principal source of Iraqi law, which worries some observers. (This provision was insisted on by Sistani and seems to be supported by Paul Bremer.)

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