Iraqi groups hold last-minute negotiations on proposed changes to draft constitution

Iraqi groups hold last-minute negotiations on proposed changes to draft constitution

[JURIST] Shiite and Kurdish officials held last-minute negotiations with Sunni Arab leaders Sunday in an attempt to win Sunni support of Iraq's proposed constitution [JURIST news archive]. The document, which will be voted on in an October 15th referendum [IECI fact sheet, PDF], has divided both sides, especially over the issue of federalism. Many influential Sunnis are calling for a "no" vote [JURIST report] and although the group is a minority, a two-thirds vote in any three of Iraq's 18 provinces will defeat the charter. Sunni leaders have proposed changes to provisions on federalism and the purging of members of Saddam Hussein's former Baath Party. Sheik Jalaleddin al-Saghir, an official in the Shiite-led United Iraqi Alliance said, "In general, there is no problem with making additions because it doesn't contradict the principles of the constitution. But the amendments the Sunnis are demanding… are basic changes in these issues that absolutely won't be accepted." AP has more.