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Iraq urges high turnout in constitution referendum, condemns calls for boycott

[JURIST] The Iraqi government [official website] Sunday urged Iraqis to vote in the upcoming October 15 constitutional referendum [IECI fact sheet, PDF; IECIQ/A, PDF] and condemned insurgent groups for trying to reduce voter turnout. Iraqi government spokesman Laith Kuba said Sunday that a boycott would weaken Iraq and delay its rebuilding. Sunni-led fighters loyal to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi [BBC profile], leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, are trying to reduce turnout in the referendum with attacks in which at least 311 people died in the last two weeks. The insurgency is also disrupting distribution [Independent report] of copies of the proposed Iraqi constitution [JURIST news archive], creating a situation where voters will vote without ever having seen a copy of the draft charter. In order to defeat the draft, two-thirds of the voters in any three of 18 Iraqi provinces must reject it. Sunni leaders have agreed to condemn the draft constitution [JURIST report], but have failed to reach a decision on whether to boycott the referendum. AP has more.

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