Tuesday, October 04, 2005

So you say you want a constitution...

Professor Juan Cole takes the constitutional legerdemain and makes it sensible. Troubling, too.

The Professor:

In case they were still in any doubt, the Shiite-dominated parliament drove the point home on Monday. It voted in a provision that the new constitution can only be defeated by a 2/3s majority of registered votes in three provinces, not a 2/3s majority of actual voters. The three-province veto was slipped into the interim constitution at the last moment by the Kurds in late February or early March of 2004, when everyone on the Interim Governing Council was exhausted and too tired to argue. (Larry Diamond tells the story in Squandered Victory). The Kurds wanted to ensure that the Shiites would not craft a constitution that was unacceptable to them (i.e. that forbade provincial confederations with special claims on resources and semi-autonomy of the sort formed by Irbil, Dohuk and Sulaymaniyah under the no-fly zone, as "Kurdistan").

The 3-province veto was never accepted by the religious Shiites on the IGC, and was explicitly rejected by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, on the grounds that it was undemocratic and held the majority hostage to a minority....

So now that a document has emerged that the Kurds and Shiites are happy with, the Shiites have finally moved to defang the 3-province veto.

Of course the constitution is also imperative to the Bush administration's exit strategy -- with or without true success.


Anonymous F.D.S. said...

Heh. Interesting.

11:33 PM  

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