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Iraq PM warns of possible problems in constitutional negotiations

[JURIST] Iraqi Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi [BBC profile] has spoken out on the some of the obstacles in the way of drafting of a new permanent constitution for his country. Writing in the Wall Street Journal [subscription required] Monday, he said that "Our Founding Fathers must ensure the constitution guarantees basic rights for all Iraqis, safeguards our hard-won democracy and reflects fairly -- and is seen to reflect -- the views of Iraq's diverse population." He noted, however, that many difficult compromises will have to be made to satisfy Iraq's fragmented society of Sunni Arabs, Shi'ite Muslims, secular nationalists, Kurds, Christians, Turkmen and others, and warned that the short time frame the drafters will have to create the document will only add to their problems. Iraq's interim constitution, the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) [provisional government website] sets an initial date of August 15 for the completion of a draft. and calls for a national referendum on the proposed constitution by October 15. If the constitution is not created and voted on, there will be delays in the next general election, scheduled for December. The role of Islamic law in the Iraqi legal system is likely to be the subject of particular debate, as it was when the TAL was hammered out. Reuters has more.

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