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Iraq constitution talks continue, federalism issue looming large

[JURIST] After a sandstorm got in the way [JURIST report] of talks yesterday, Iraqi leaders met again on Tuesday to try and iron out their last remaining differences in order to submit a constitution by the August 15 deadline. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani [Wikipedia profile] is hosting the group, which is deadlocked over issues such as the role of Islam and federalism [JURIST report] in the new government. Groups of protestors argued about how strong a role Islamic law should play [Reuters report] in central Baghdad on Tuesday and the US has joined calls to reject strict application of laws that would limit women's rights. The debate over the role of federalism has also been a contentious issue, with Kurds demanding a federalist system to maintain their autonomy. Many Sunni Arabs oppose federalism, saying it will eventually lead to division in Iraq. One Sunni leader said Tuesday that federalism would have "grave consequences" and called for that issue to be handled by the new parliament instead. AP has more.

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