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Further delay looms in Iraq constitution deadline

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Further delay looms in Iraq constitution deadline

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The dealine for submitting Iraq’s constitution looms, but a deal is still proving to be elusive.

Despite protracted negotiations, leaders of the country´s three main sectarian groups have failed to agree on key issues ahead of the deadline on Monday evening. Kurds, Sunnis and Shi’ites are at odds over federalism, oil and the role of Islam. The Sunnis, who dominated Iraq under Saddam Hussein, fear their share of oil revenues would be compromised if the oil-rich Kurdish and Shi’ite regions are given broad federal autonomy. They have held protests demanding that the country remain a unified state. The constitution deadline has been pushed back before, and Washington is worried about further delays. It sees a timely approval of the charter as key to defeating the insurgency. But a postponement now seems the most likely outcome, as there is little appetite for the alternative – the dissolution of the national assembly and fresh elections. If negotiators agree on the constitution, it will be submitted to a referendum in October.