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BREAKING NEWS ~ Iraq assembly reverses constitution vote rule change

[JURIST] BBC News is reporting that Iraq's National Assembly has voted to reverse its recent changes to the rules of the country's constitutional referendum scheduled for October 15. The changes, adopted by the Shiite- and Kurd-dominated body over the weekend, would have shifted the criterion of defeat for the proposed charter [JURIST news archive] in individual provinces from a majority of actual voters voting against to a majority of registered voters voting against, making it much harder for the draft constitution to be defeated in Sunni-dominated areas of low turnout. The revisions had prompted sharp protests from Sunnis [JURIST report] and from international observers, including the UN [JURIST report] and the US [JURIST report]. The constitution poll will now proceed according to its original rules, under which the draft charter may be defeated if two-thirds of actual (as opposed to registered) voters in three or more Iraqi provinces reject it. BBC News has more.

1:15 PM ET - Sunni Arab leaders have responded to the National Assembly vote by dropping their threat to boycott the October 15 referendum [JURIST report] but are still promising to reject the proposed constitution at the polls. UN officials in Iraq Wednesday welcomed the parliament vote, saying "We will now have a referendum law that follows international standards. It provides the ground for a fair referendum, and we call on all Iraqis to come forward to use a democratic right to give their opinion." AP has more.

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