Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Iraqi National Assembly took a very worrisome step by abolishing the value of Iraqis’ votes in the upcoming referendum through giving two different interpretations of the word “voter” in the law that will govern the referendum and decide whether the draft constitution is ratified or not.

In response, the UN has refused this change in the referendum laws and asked the Assembly to take fast action to correct this contradiction:

We have expressed our position to the national assembly and to the leadership of the government and told them that the decision that was taken was not acceptable and would not meet international standards," Jose Aranaz, a legal adviser to the U.N. electoral team in Iraq...

The change that was introduced lately by the Assembly would call the draft constitution ratified if more than 50% of actual voters voted with “yes” but in another sentence in the same rule which states that the draft constitution would be considered rejected if two thirds of the voters in three provinces voted with “no” the word “voters” was interpreted as registered voters not actual voters.

Iraq's parliament made a ruling on Sunday determining that for the Oct. 15 referendum to pass only half of those who turn out to vote across the country would have to say "Yes".
But a clause setting a two-thirds "No" vote in at least three of 18 provinces as a veto on the charter would be interpreted to mean two thirds of all registered, rather than actual, voters.
In other words, the word "voter" in the interim constitution was being interpreted in two different ways in the same article.

The above means that the government is far more interested in approving the draft constitution than it is in having the people freely decide for their future and I frankly do not know how people are supposed to trust a government that is literally playing with words and planning to deny them their right to decide on a super-important issue like their nation's constitution.

I wasn't worried at all when the final draft came with several articles I didn't agree with since I thought my voice would count and could change things in either direction but now?
Now I feel like I'm facing a challenge of having my voice ignored and hijacked again and that is something I cannot accept.

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