Iraq’s draft constitution has been presented to parliament despite hostility from Sunni leaders. Earlier the document was signed by Kurdish and Shi’ite members of the committeein charge of writing the text. Sunni negotiators are appealing for help from the United Nations and the Arab League to stop the charter being approved. They are implacably opposed to a clause describing Iraq as a federal state. They are also unhappy that Islam is referred to as a principal source of law and not as the main source.
Sunnis are worried they will lose out if the oil-rich Kurdish and Shi’ite regions are given broad autonomy. They fear federalism could eventually lead to the break-up of the country. Another bone of contention is a clause which excludes former members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath party from public life. Under the old regime, the Sunni minority dominated Iraq.
The Iraqi people will have their say on the constitution in a referendum on October 15. Sunnis could still block the document then if they muster two-thirds of the vote in the three provinces where they comprise a majority of the population.