Iraq’s parliament has given in to UN and US pressure to modify voting rules in a forthcoming referendum on the constitution.
Originally the assembly decided that the two-thirds majority needed in three provinces to defeat the landmark charter would be counted from all registered voters rather than actual voters. Now the parliament has passed a motion saying that only those who actually vote will be taken into account. The previous rules would have made it virtually impossible to defeat the constitution. That prompted accusations of unfairness from the international community and triggered a storm of protest from the Sunni minority. It suspects that the Shi’ite and Kurdish camps tried to skew the vote to protect their interests. Many Sunnis are expected to oppose the constitution in the ballot on October 15, believing it gives too much power to Shi’ites and Kurds and opens the doorto federalism.