Opinion Editorials, October 2005, To see today's opinion articles, click here: www.aljazeerah.info
Iraqi Constitution Adopted Despite Two-Third Rejection in Sunni Provinces !
By Hassan El-Najjar
Al-Jazeerah, October 26, 2005
According to their own rules, designers of the Iraqi constitution decided that it could be rejected if voters in three provinces reject it by two-third of votes. Well, voters in the three Sunni provinces of Salahuddin, Al-Anbar, and Ninewah, together, rejected the constitution by about 77% of the vote. However, the Electoral Commission announced the adoption of the constitution because voters who rejected it in one province did not do that with two-thirds of the vote, which is a controversial opinion that may be contested.
The Iraqi Electoral Commission announced today that voters in the Iraqi Sunni Province of Ninewah rejected the constitution by 55% of the vote. Previously, it announced that in the Salahuddin province, 81.5 percent of voters rejected the Constitution. It also announced that in the Sunni province of Al-Anbar, more than 97 percent voted against the new constitution.
Thus, the constitution was rejected in two Sunni provinces with more than two-third of voters. But because the rejection was very high, adding the rejection of the third province of Ninewah (55%) would still produce more than two-third of voters rejecting the constitution in the three provinces together, that is about 77%.
Despite this fact, the Electoral Commission announced that the Sunnis failed to reject the constitution in three provinces, which is not true.
Ninewah Province Rejects Constitution by 55% of the Vote, Three Sunni Provinces Reject it Together by 77%, Yet Commission Announced it Adopted, Sunnis Reject Fraudulent Results
Iraqi voters approve US-backed constitution
Khaleej Times, (Reuters)
25 October 2005
BAGHDAD - Iraqi voters have ratified a new US-backed constitution despite opposition in Sunni Arab areas, officials said on Tuesday.
Iraq’s Electoral Commission, revealing final results from the Oct. 15 referendum, said 79 percent of voters backed the constitution against 21 percent opposed in a poll split largely along Iraq’s sectarian and ethnic lines.
Several Shi'i and Kurdish regions voted between 95 and 99 percent “Yes”; in Sunni Anbar 97 percent said “No”.
Sunni leaders reject Iraq charter
Tue Oct 25, 2005 10:52 AM ET
By Michael Georgy
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Arab Sunni leaders rejected a referendum which ratified a new Iraqi constitution on Tuesday, saying "fraudulent" results would discourage them from taking part in December elections and fuel (the resistance).
"Violence is not the only solution, if politics offers solutions so that we can move in that direction. But there is very little hope that we can make any gains in the elections," said Sunni leader Saleh Mutlaq.
"I call on the free world. I call on the United Nations to intervene. We will not accept any referendum or election without international observers."
U.S. officials sponsoring the political process had described the election, in which many in the disaffected Sunni Arab minority took part, as a success for democracy.
But Mutlaq and other prominent Sunnis who had been involved in negotiations on the draft charter accused the Iraqi electoral commission of bowing to U.S. pressure and fixing results in favor of Shi'i and Kurdish leaders dominating the government
Prominent Sunni Hussein al-Falluji predicted more bloodshed after what he called a referendum manipulated by Washington.
"We all know that this referendum was fraud conducted by an electoral commission that is not independent. It is controlled by the occupying Americans and it should step down before elections in December," Falluji said.
"Politics is linked directly to security on the ground. The situation can only get worse now. I have just prayed to God to expose the truth about what is happening in Iraq."
(Additional reporting by Reuters Television)
Draft Constitution Adopted by Iraqi Voters
Oct 25, 2005 7:29 AM EDT
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraq's landmark constitution was adopted by a majority of voters during the country's Oct. 15 referendum, as Sunni Arab opponents failed to muster enough support to defeat it, election officials said Tuesday.
Results released by the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq showed that Sunni Arabs, who had sharply opposed the draft document, failed to produce the two-thirds "no" vote they would have needed in at least three of Iraq's 18 provinces to defeat it.
Nationwide, 78.59 percent voted for the charter while 21.41 percent voted against, the commission said. The charter required a simple majority nationwide with the provision that if two-thirds of the voters in any three provinces rejected it, the constitution would be defeated.
"Whatever the results of the referendum are ... it is a civilized step that aims to put Iraq on the path of true democracy," Farid Ayar, an official with the electoral commission, said before reading the final results.
Two mostly Sunni Arab provinces - Salahuddin and Anbar - had voted against the constitution by at least a two-thirds vote. The commission, which had been auditing the referendum results for 10 days, said a third province where many Sunnis live - Ninewah - produced a "no" vote of only 55 percent.
Ninewah had been a focus of fraud allegations since preliminary results showed a large majority of voters had approved the constitution, despite a large Sunni Arab population there.
Election commission officials and U.N. officials, who also took part in the audit, "found no cases of fraud that could affect the results of the vote," Ayar said.
The constitution, which many Kurds and majority Shiites strongly support, is considered another major step in the country's democratic transformation, clearing the way for the election of a new Iraqi parliament on Dec. 15. Such steps are considered important in any decision about the future withdrawal of U.S.-led forces from Iraq.
Many Sunni Arabs fear that the constitution will create two virtually autonomous and oil-rich mini-states of Kurds in the north and Sunnis in the south, while leaving many Sunnis isolated in poor central and western regions with a weak central government in Baghdad.
Some fear that the Sunni Arab loss in the referendum could influence more of them to join or support Sunni-led insurgents who are launching attacks across the country against Iraq's mostly Shiite and Kurdish government and U.S.-led forces.
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