BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 11 - Iraqi political leaders said they had agreed to an important last-minute change in the draft constitution on Tuesday evening in exchange for a promise by some prominent Sunni Arab leaders to give public support to the document in the nationwide referendum on Saturday.
The change would create a panel in the next parliament with the power to propose broad new revisions to the constitution. In effect, the change could give the Sunnis - who were largely shut out of the constitution-writing process - a new chance to help redraft the document after elections in December.
The agreement was a major victory for American officials, who had spent weeks urging Iraq's Shiite and Kurdish leaders to make changes that could soften Sunni opposition to the charter and forge a broader consensus. The Americans had voiced fears that if the constitution passed over strong Sunni opposition, more would turn toward violence.
The breakthrough came as insurgents continued their intensified campaign to create chaos, carrying out at least a dozen attacks across Iraq that left at least 42 people dead and dozens wounded. The biggest attack, a bombing in Tal Afar, killed at least 27.
The constitutional change would need to be approved by the National Assembly, which will convene on Wednesday for that purpose. That is likely to be a formality, as the lawmakers generally follow their party leaders.
"This will give a new chance to the people who were not present in the writing of the constitution," said Alaa Makky, a senior member of the Iraqi Islamic Party, Iraq's best-known Sunni political group, which had until now been urging its members to vote against the document. "We think this may be the beginning of a new era, and we think it is a great success."
Read it here.
Actually, it's just a way of kicking the can down the road, and some of our more idiotic pundits will criticize it on those grounds, but that's how successful constitutions [like our own] work. In Philadelphia in 1787 our founders kicked a lots of cans a far ways down the road and those evasions are the reasons a federal constitution was possible.
Read the MSNBC story here.