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Sunnis oppose federalism, proposed Iraqi constitution

[JURIST] Sunni Arab negotiators working on Iraq's draft constitution [JURIST news archive] continue to refuse to compromise their demands for a strong central government in Iraq [JURIST report], fearing that federalism will divide the country. While the Supreme Council for the Islam Revolution in Iraq [party website], the largest Shiite political party, supports the creation of a federal region in Shiite-dominated areas of the country, Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari's Dawa party [party website in Arabic] and the movement of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr [Wikipedia profile], both Shiite groups, do not support that plan. Sunni Arab members of the drafting committee presented their concerns to al-Jaafari in a meeting Thursday, then participated in a late-night conference with Shiites and Kurds at the home of Vice President Adil Abdul-Mahdi. According to Kurdish lawmaker Mahmoud Othman, all three sides are determined to reach an agreement by the extended deadline [JURIST report] of August 22, but if Shiites and Kurds, who have 221 of 275 seats in parliament, could reach an agreement they would submit the constitution for approval in spite of Sunni protests. However, if an agreement is not reached by the deadline, the US State Department has said that another extension would be politically unfeasible [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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