Shiites balk at adding Sunni Arabs to Iraq constitutional process

[JURIST] Majority Shiite members of the special parlimentary committee mandated to draft the charter for Iraq's constitution [JURIST report] have balked at Sunni calls for greater representation in the constitutional process, with some urging that the body simply get on with its job without even waiting for the Sunnis to name experts [JURIST report] who would be willing to play a supporting role. Sunni Arabs, who boycotted the December elections [JURIST news archive] and now have only 2 of the 55 seats on the committee, have demanded are as many as 25 seats on the committee, with voting rights equal to lawmakers. Bahaa al-Araji, the committee's coordinator and a Shiite deputy, has rejected the latter proposal, claiming exclusive lawmaking rights for those who participated in the electoral process, but has said that allowing 13 Sunnis to join would be ideal as it would even out participation between Kurds and Sunni Arabs, who make up a similar share of the overall population. In the meantime the committee has set its own conditions for new members: former members of the Baath party will not be admitted, while Sunni candidates must publicly announce a "positive" attitude about the political process and have support from their communities. Iraq's National Assembly [Wikipedia profile] has until August 15 to write a constitutional draft, which would go to a nationwide vote two months later. If adopted, the constitution would provide the guidelines for a general election in December. AP has more.



 

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