The seventy-one member committee that is writing Iraq's new constitution is scheduled to submit a draft of the document by August 15th. The committee includes representatives of Iraq's Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds. "We will work day and night to finish it on time," says Humam Hammoudi, who heads the drafting committee. Mr. Hammoudi says, "All our brothers in the committee insisted [on working]. . . .to finalize the constitution on Aug. 15th, to submit it to the National Assembly, and the people to discuss it and then probably to make some amendments [to] the text."
Committee members are seeking to resolve a number of issues, such as the role of Islam in Iraqi law and society, women's rights, the role that regional autonomy will play, and the possibility of recognizing Kurdish as an official language. "If the bloc leaders could not solve such issues," says Mr. Hammoudi, "then they will be brought forward to the National Assembly. . . .for them to be solved."
"Human rights and individual liberties, including religious freedom," says Iraqi President Jalal Talabani," will be at the heart of the new Iraq." Salam al Shamaa, an Iraqi journalist, says that the new Iraqi constitution "will help the government establish stability faster and give Iraqis an elected government after the transitional period." Iraqis are slated to vote on the new constitution in a referendum by October 15th. If it is approved, they will return to the polls in December to elect a permanent government under the new constitution.
"By taking these critical steps and meeting their deadlines," said President George W. Bush," Iraqis will bind their multiethnic society together in a democracy that respects the will of the majority and protects minority rights."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.