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UN expects high turn-out for Iraq constitution referendum, including Sunnis

[JURIST] The United Nations is expecting a large turn-out for Saturday's Iraqi constitution [JURIST news archive] referendum [IECI fact sheet, PDF], including in areas dominated by Sunni Arabs who have voiced opposition to the charter. The UN's top global election supervision official Carina Perelli said, "We are seeing a political will to commit to the vote as an institutional process which gives the people back their voice." Shiite and Kurdish officials have been meeting with Sunni officials [JURIST report] this week in a last-minute attempt to win their buy-in for the charter, after 21 Sunni organizations called for Iraqis to reject the charter [JURIST report] last week. Sunnis are concerned that the new constitution will cause Iraq to lose its "Arab identity" and that it also provides for an unfair distribution of Iraq's oil wealth. But Perelli said that Sunnis in the western province of Al-Anbar have been following the constitutional debates closely and have indicated an interest to participate in the referendum. 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." AFP has more.

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