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Iraqi leaders may seek new deadline for constitution

[JURIST] A spokesperson for Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari said Sunday that Iraq's constitutional committee [official website] may seek more time to work on the draft constitution [JURIST news archive] if they cannot meet Monday's deadline to submit the document to the country's parliament. Iraqi leaders are already working under an extended deadline [JURIST report] after they missed the original August 15 date. It was thought that the August 22 deadline was a one-time extension [JURIST report], but it now seems that Iraq may seek multiple extensions before an agreement is reached. Negotiators remain divided on several issues, including the role federalism should play [JURIST report], the role of Islam [NYT report] and Kurdish self-rule [JURIST report]. Sunni Arabs, who oppose federalism, are warning that they will vote to defeat the constitution in October's referendum if their demands are not met. Under the Transitional Administrative Law [text], the constitution will not be accepted if two-thirds of voters in any three provinces vote against it in the national referendum. AFP has more.

4:32 PM ET - Sunni leaders late Sunday appealed to the US, the United Nations and other members of the international community to head off any draft Iraqi constitution proposed or adopted without Sunni agreement. The 15-member Sunni bloc of delegates [JURIST report] to the Iraqi constitutional committee said that although meetings on the charter involving Shiites and Kurds had been ongoing since last Monday's seven-day extension [JURIST report], they had only participated in a single session on Friday, and said that going ahead without unanimous agreement which included Sunnis would "make the current crisis more complicated." AP has more. Iraqi government officials meanwhile suggested that dissolving the current Iraqi assembly and calling new elections, this time involving more Sunnis, might be one way out of the current impasse. Under one reading of the TAL, the Assembly will have to be dissolved if the new draft deadline of midnight Monday is not met. Reuters has more.

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