Accessibility links

Last Minute Disagreement Delays Signing of Iraq's Constitution - 2004-03-05

A last minute disagreement has delayed the signing of Iraq's interim constitution. Shiite members of the interim Governing Council raised objections shortly before the signing ceremony was due to start Friday afternoon.

Five Shiite members of the Governing Council object to two clauses of the interim constitution, and refused to sign the document until changes are made.

One of the clauses deals with the make-up of the five-member presidency that would assume power from the U.S. coalition at the end of June. The Shiite council members want three of those seats to reflect the community's majority in Iraq's population.

A spokesman for one of the members told VOA news, they also object to a clause dealing with the vote for a future permanent constitution. The clause says the document could be vetoed by any three of Iraq's 18 provinces. Shiite members fear that would give too much power to the three Kurdish provinces in the north.

It is not clear why the questions were not raised sooner, or when they might be resolved.