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Deal reached on Iraqi constitution; Sunni party to urge charter approval

[JURIST] In what some Iraqi officials are calling a "breakthrough," Shiite and Kurdish leaders of the Iraqi government [official website, English version] have agreed to allow the country's parliament to review possible future amendments to the Iraqi constitution [JURIST news archive; JURIST document], a demand considered key to winning the support of Iraq's minority Sunni population in the upcoming October 15 referendum [IECI fact sheet, PDF]. Under the eleventh-hour deal announced late Tuesday, a commission will be established to consider amendments to the charter, which would then be voted on by the National Assembly and thereafter submitted to the public in another referendum. This would allow Sunnis to try to amend the constitution to reduce the autonomous powers granted to the majority Shiites and Kurds under the current draft, due to be voted on this weekend. At least one Sunni leader, Ayad al-Samarraie of the Iraqi Islamic Party [GlobalSecurity profile], said the agreement will prompt his party to urge Sunni Arabs to vote in favor of adopting the constitution. According to Iraq's current electoral law, a majority is necessary for the constitution's adoption, unless two-thirds of the citizens in at least three of Iraq's 18 provinces vote "no." With the October referendum coming up on Saturday, the printed copies of the draft constitution now being distributed by the UN [JURIST report] cannot reflect the amendments; instead the changes will be publicized in the Iraqi media, largely on TV. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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