So finally they sit down and write something on paper.
The first thing the Constitution Committee put down on paper are 16 short paragraphs they are calling Principles for the constitution. It looks like a number of guidelines or things everyone basically agrees upon and would form the skeleton of future discussions.
Until yesterday they were only 15, paragraph 16 was added today after more heated discussion.

It was decided to set the following principles as guidelines, and they are to be called “constitutional principles”;

  1. the principle of the republican system
  2. the principle of Democracy
  3. the principle of federalism and decentralization of governance
  4. the principle of Islam being the official religion of Iraq and a source of legislation
  5. the principle of equality in rights and freedoms
  6. the principle of the separation of the three powers and the independence of judges
  7. the principle of peacefulness in international relationships and the rejection of violence and terrorism
  8. the principle of the unity of Iraq’s people and land
  9. the principle of civilian power over military
  10. the principle of Iraq’s independence and sovereignty
  11. the principle of natural resources being owned by the people
  12. the principle of acknowledging that Iraq is a multi-ethnic, mulit-religious country
  13. the principle of the family forming the forming unit of society
  14. the constitution and the law is above all
  15. the role of civil society organizations in monitoring the work of governmental institutions.
  16. for the articulation of paragraphs 3 and 4 what has been stated in the Iraqi Transitional Law should be observed

It seems that during the past two days the 3rd and 4th principle have caused a lot of debate in the Constitution Committee with the Kurds wanting to put in a line about a voluntary federal state (which makes Arab-Iraqis a bit uncomfortable because if they choose to be in a federal state now they might not want to be in some point in the future). And the Islamists wanted to bring back a line which has already caused a lot of shouty arguments during the drafting of Iraq’s Transitional Law. They wanted to put the ‘THE’ back in, as in [Islam is THE source of legislation]. And that’s why paragraph 16 was added, which in theory puts an end to both groups arguments.

For the Islamists Article 7 section A states:

Islam is the official religion of the State and is to be considered a source of legislation. No law that contradicts the universally agreed tenets of Islam, the principles of democracy, or the rights cited in Chapter Two of this Law may be enacted during the transitional period. This Law respects the Islamic identity of the majority of the Iraqi people and guarantees the full religious rights of all individuals to freedom of religious belief and practice.

And for Kurdish separatists Article 4 says:

The system of government in Iraq shall be republican, federal, democratic, and pluralistic, and powers shall be shared between the federal government and the regional governments, governorates, municipalities, and local administrations. The federal system shall be based upon geographic and historical realities and the separation of powers, and not upon origin, race, ethnicity, nationality, or confession.

No mention of opting to chuck the rest of Iraq not only for the region of Kurdistan but any region that might be formed (The Transitional Law) allow for any three governorates outside Kurdistan to form a “region” – and there are rumors about Basra and two adjacent governorates forming a southern region.

So in fact if these 16 principles were to be followed we might be able to at least discuss new issues not spend time with things that were discussed before but somehow from all the squabbles I hear about I don’t think this is going to be so easy, all sides have just conceded to these basic principles but the devil will be in the details I guess.

Die Gedanken Sind Frei (the thoughts are free) – Brazillian Girls

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