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Security tight ahead of Iraq referendum

Security tight ahead of Iraq referendum
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The Baghdad square where the world watched a statue of Saddam Hussein being torn down after he was ousted is lined with posters promoting Saturday’sreferendum on a new constitution.Security has been tightened ahead of the vote, emptying streets and highways across the country.The charter is supported by most Shi’ite and Kurdish leaders in the US-backed government but is opposed by elements of the Sunni Arab minority.It would make Iraq a federal, parliamentary democracy.Political scientist at Baghdad University, Dr Nabil Younis, says the view of the ordinary Iraqi must be taken into account.

He said:“We have to at least convince him that we are doing our best, not just to ignore their voice and just (say) that we are the majority, we can do anything we want.” TV adverts have been promoting the constitution, which would make Islam the state religion, although religious freedom would be guaranteed. Men and women would have equal political rights. The Baath Party, once led by Saddam Hussein, would also be banned, while oil and gas reserves would remain state-owned.