The constitution clock is ticking in Iraq and with the midnight deadline on reaching a deal looming, the country’s ruling Shi’ite Islamists claim there is enough consensus to force the document through parliament this evening. But while Shi’ites say that they are in agreement with the Kurds, the Sunni minority claim their demands have not been met and say they reject the political process as it stands now. For the constitution to be legal, a simple majority of the 275-member parliament must approve it.
But though Shia and Kurdish groups can push the draft through, some warn that doing so would further alienate Sunnis from the political process. The key sticking points between the three main groups have been over power-sharing, federalism, the role of Islam and oil.
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.
If the document is approved, it will be put to a referendum in October – Sunnis say they will vote against it and warn of a civil war if it is passed.