Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A last minute agreement brings a more flexible constitution...

A surprising change of attitude by the Iraqi Islamic Party has dramatically shifted the balance towards ratifying the draft constitution.
An accord to approve the document has been reached and announced today in Baghdad between Iraqi Sheat, Kurdish and Sunni prominent political leaders after it seemed that all Sunni parties were going to encourage voters to vote ‘no’.

Iraqi Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni political leaders today said they agreed on changes to the proposed constitution, which may ensure that voters approve the document in the Oct. 15 referendum.

``All obstacles to the approval of the constitution have been removed,'' President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, said at a news conference in the capital, Baghdad, carried live by al-Jazeera television. ``I hope this will be the beginning of a new kind of cooperation between all Iraqis.''

This move of the Islamic Party came as a shock to other Sunni groups especially the National Dialogue Conference and the Association of Muslim Scholars; Spokesmen of these two groups were interviewed by Al-Arabiya TV a few hours ago and they literally didn’t know what to say with confusion and denial clear on their faces especially that last week they signed an agreement with the Islamic Party to reject the constitution.

I think this breakthrough shows the difference between the way political parties deal with things when compared to clerics and ex-Ba’athists like Mutlaq of the Dialogue Conference who still adopt a stiff stand and apparently like to oppose just to stop things from progressing; the Islamic Party weighed things in a smart way and took the decision to change their attitude when the other involved parties showed active will to work things out and override obstacles.

What I consider most important and encouraging is this part of the agreement:

Under the agreement a panel will be created to propose amendments to the charter after elections for a new government in December. The panel will be appointed within four months from now and may give Sunnis, who said they were excluded from the drafting process, an opportunity to help redraft the document.

This will give hope not to the Sunni only but also to the secular powers and other minorities who feel they were marginalized during the writing of the draft.
This way, amendments will be possible to propose only two months after the December elections and not eight years as was written in the draft before this agreement.

I like this new rule and I think I will change my mind and vote with ‘yes’ as I wasn’t feeling prepared to accept the constitution as it is for whole eight years but now I feel much more hopeful.
The struggle for amendments will naturally be tough and tiring but no pain no gain they say.

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