[JURIST] In a primetime TV address to the nation from Fort Bragg, NC, marking the one-year anniversary of the return of local sovereignty to Iraqi hands [JURIST report] President Bush has focused primarily on security-related issues relating to the ongoing American military presence in the country, but also called on Iraqis to write a "good constitution" drawing together all groups in Iraqi society and urged them to meet the deadlines already established for the key stages in the constitional process:
The challenge facing Iraqis today is to put [the] past behind them and come together to build a new Iraq that includes all its people. They are doing that by building the institutions of a free society, a society based on freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion and equal justice under law. The Iraqis have held free elections and established a transitional national assembly. The next step is to write a good constitution that enshrines these freedoms in permanent law. The assembly plans to expand its constitutional drafting committee to include more Sunni Arabs. Many Sunnis who opposed the January elections are now taking part in the democratic process, and that is essential to Iraq's future.The White House has posted the full text of President Bush's address.
After a constitution is written, the Iraqi people will have a chance to vote on it. If approved, Iraqis will go to the polls again to elect a new government under their new, permanent constitution. By taking these critical steps and meeting their deadlines, Iraqis will bind their multiethnic society together in a democracy that respects the will of the majority and protects minority rights.