Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Election Change Seems to Ensure Iraqis' Charter

NYT reported Iraq's Shiite and Kurdish leaders quietly adopted new rules over the weekend that will make it virtually impossible for the constitution to fail in the coming national referendum.

That is good.
The move prompted Sunni Arabs and a range of independent political figures to complain that the vote was being fixed. Some Sunni leaders who have been organizing a campaign to vote down the proposed constitution said they might now boycott the referendum on Oct. 15. Other political leaders also reacted angrily, saying the change would seriously damage the vote's credibility.
People trying to organize opposition don't like a change that makes their job harder. Who is surprised?
Under the new rules, the constitution will fail only if two-thirds of all registered voters - rather than two-thirds of all those actually casting ballots - reject it in at least three of the 18 provinces.
Changes to our constitution require action by 3/4 of the total number of states; not 3/4 of the states expressing an opinion.
The change, adopted during an unannounced vote in Parliament on Sunday afternoon, effectively raises the bar for those who oppose the constitution. Given that fewer than 60 percent of registered Iraqis voted in the January elections, the chances that two-thirds will both show up at the polls and vote against the document in three provinces would appear to be close to nil.
And most of the Sunnis boycotted the last election. If you want your opinions counted, you need to vote.
"This is a mockery of democracy, a mockery of law," said Adnan al-Janabi, a secular Sunni representative and a member of former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's party. "Many Sunnis have been telling me they didn't believe in this democratic process, and now I believe they are vindicated."

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