Monday, October 17, 2005

Iran News: Iran's foreign minister said Monday that Iraq was facing the promise of "bright future with peace and stability" amid expections the country had approved a new constitution in a referendum. In a congratulatory message, Manouchehr Mottaki also called for the "continuation of broad cooperation of the Iraqi people in the political arena" in order to "achieve independence, the exit of foreign forces and a return of Iraq to its natural regional position." [...]

Sydney Morning Herald (Australia): Iraqi experiment splitting at the seams. This is another don't-know kind of week in Iraq. The result of Saturday's national referendum won't be known before Thursday but it appears a new constitution has been endorsed. Not that it's going to make much difference. It will give hope to American diehards who will claim the process and the document are proof of democracy at work. But, sadly, the reverse is the case. This is a Clayton's constitution - a conflicted, contradictory unity bill for a country tearing itself apart, accepted in a vote dictated by the fault lines of Iraqi history. Here are some of the elements of the constitution that mock notions of national unity and invite civil war. [...]

A few similar stories reporting on the results:

The Australian: All but two Iraqi provinces say yes. A higher than expected turnout by Sunni voters appears to have failed to stop passage of Iraq's draft constitution, with early counts suggesting a yes vote in all but two of the country's 18 provinces. The likely victory seems certain to spark more violence and raises the prospect of Iraq being divided along ethnic and sectarian lines. The Sunni Arab minority, which violently opposed the new charter, lives largely within four provinces in the centre of Iraq and needed to muster a two-thirds no vote in three of the provinces in order to defeat it.

The Age (Australia): A step closer to democratic rule. Iraqis are set to elect a democratic government after supporting the weekend's landmark constitution referendum. President Jalal Talabani yesterday issued a decree setting December 15 as the date Iraqis will vote to elect a new parliament. Iraq's constitution seemed assured of passage after initial results showed minority Sunni Arabs had fallen short in an effort to veto it at the polls. The apparent acceptance was a major step in the attempt to establish a democratic government, which could lead to the pull-out of US troops. Opponents failed to secure the necessary two-thirds "no" vote in any three of Iraqi's 18 provinces, according to counts local officials provided yesterday. [...]