Changes Sunnis Want in Constitution

by The Associated Press - August 27, 2005


A list of 13 demands presented by five top Sunni members of Iraq's government in objecting to Iraq's draft constitution:

• The drafting committee should be given enough time to overcome all obstacles;

• In the constitutional preamble, no specific sect should be mentioned as having suffered under the previous regime, since that regime was unjust to everyone and this would foster future hatreds;

• Government posts should not be apportioned by religious sect;

• The preamble should be brief and no majority or minority should be mentioned because that does not serve Iraq's unity;

• The question of a federal state should be postponed for a future period, putting into consideration a special status for the Kurds;

• Iraq's Arab identity should be preserved because Arabs make up more than 80 percent of the population, with full respect to all religions and ethnic groups such as Kurds, Turkomen, Chaldean-Assyrians and Yazidis;

• Executive authority should not be concentrated in the hands of any one group;

• The next National Assembly should have the right to introduce amendments to the constitution;

• There should be no mention of de-Baathification in the constitution. The issue should be referred to the Justice Ministry;

• The constitution should not refer to the Arab population as Sunnis and Shiites, but just Arabs;

• Elected leaders including the president and prime minister, as well as government officials and military officers, should take an oath to "preserve the unity of Iraq and its independence;"

• Civil law should be the basis of legal norms affecting citizens and ethnic groups;

• The decision on the future powers of autonomous provinces and regions should be left to the National Assembly elected in December.