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Iraq sets October 15 for constitution referendum, but text not yet finalized

[JURIST] The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq [official website] officially announced Thursday that a referendum on the draft Iraqi constitution [English translation; JURIST news archive] would be held October 15 [Reuters report], but UN officials said they were still waiting for a final version of the draft to print and distribute prior to the referendum. The National Assembly failed to approve [JURIST report] the draft at its final session on Aug. 28 after Sunni lawmakers objected to several provisions [JURIST document]. Negotiations may continue [JURIST report] when the assembly opens its September session. The circumstances have created confusion as to which version of the draft will be presented to the UN for printing. UN official Nicholas Haysom said that the delay in receiving the document may affect its ability [Newsweek report] to print and distribute copies prior to the Oct. 15 vote. AFP has more.

12:19 PM ET - UN officials in Baghdad have said that the printing of Iraq's draft constitution will not begin Thursday as originally planned because the UN has not yet received authorization to print the document. Nicholas Haysom said Thursday that "we are awaiting a text certified by the National Assembly. We don't expect that to happen before Sunday." It is unclear whether the delay is due to parliament's failure to properly approve the text or if there have been modifications to the draft that was submitted to parliament last week. Reuters has more.

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