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UPDATE ~ US opposes new rules for Iraqi constitutional referendum

[JURIST] The US has expressed concern about changes to electoral laws [JURIST report] made by the Iraqi National Assembly that appear to make it more likely that the Iraqi constitution [JURIST news archive] will not be defeated in an Oct. 15 referendum. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Tuesday that the changes made by Shiite and Kurd politicians were an interpretation of Iraq's interim constitution, the Transitional Administrative Law [text], that did not square with the text and spirit of that law. The alterations, approved Sunday, require a simple majority to approve the constitution, while two-thirds of registered voters (as opposed to actual voters) in three provinces must vote against the draft for it to fail. The change could have a significant impact in Sunni-dominated areas of the country where voter turnout is expected to be low. McCormack said the issue would have to be resolved by the National Assembly and the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq [official website; English version]. The UN has also expressed disapproval of the change [JURIST report] and has called for a review of the new rules. AFP has more.

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