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Iraq's Sunni Leaders Submit Counter Proposal on Constitution

  • VOA News

Iraq's Sunni leaders have submitted a counterproposal on the country's draft constitution to Shi'ite and Kurdish negotiators, saying the draft presented to them Friday is unacceptable. Sunni spokesmen said the new proposal submitted on Saturday demands omission of any reference to autonomous regions, except for the Kurdish north. They said Sunni Arab negotiators also rejected Shi'ite plans to bar former Baathists from public life. Earlier on Saturday Iraq's Parliament Speaker, Hajim al-Hassani, said the draft given to Sunni negotiators Friday is "final" and will be presented to Parliament Sunday. The legislature, overwhelmingly Shi'ite and Kurdish, may vote on it or simply refer it to voters for an October 15th referendum. Experts say if the charter goes to voters over Sunni objections it will be a major setback for the Bush administration. Washington has called Sunni participation critical for helping end the insurgency in Iraq.
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