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A poster in Baghdad urging people to vote in the referendum on the draft constitution
Radio Free Iraq (RFI) interviewed Ayad al-Samarra'i, deputy secretary-general of the Iraqi Islamic Party, in Baghdad on 13 October.
The attitude of the opposition is the good will to achieve something. Our basic wish was that we reach a state of consensus with others. [But] in the last moments [when the constitution was presented to the National Assembly on 28 August], the leading [constitution negotiators] in the National Assembly decided to break the principle of consensus and approach to present the draft, maybe making use of the time pressure. Due to that, the leading forces in the National Assembly decided to transgress the principle of consensus, which had been [previously] agreed upon, by presenting the constitution draft. Now, we cannot implement all the needed changes so a different solution was necessary. This solution came by giving an opportunity to the next National Assembly to revise this draft and implement convenient changes. The attitude of the Iraqi Islamic Party, as we have said, was not a rejection [coming] out of a wish to reject. It was a constructive rejection. It was a rejection that aims at making others revise [the draft]. If they complete the revision we will be the first ones ready to be positive.RFI:
What would you tell those who have criticized the Iraqi Islamic Party? Among them are Sunni [Arab] political forces that have not been pleased by your approval of the constitution.
"We are aware of the complex character of the political process: the constitution is a stage in the political process; the constitution is not the whole of the political process."
The position in which I want to be does not allow me to assess the attitudes of these forces. I will leave the issue to the coming months, to the judgment of the Iraqi people over this step and to the judgment of history over the extent to which this step was correct. We have been fully convinced that we have to take this step for the sake of stabilizing Iraq. We are aware of the complex character of the political process: the constitution is a stage in the political process; the constitution is not the whole of the political process. When we see the constitution as a part of the political process, this attitude will leave big and notable traces on the whole of the political process that will be beneficial for Iraq.
The other parties who have been critical may either have been coming from a certain ideological background or from a limited view of the constitution, or from another way of understanding. But the coming days will confirm the extent of the correctness of the step that we have taken.
(Translation by Petr Kubalek)For all the news about Iraq, see RFE/RL's special webpage The New Iraq. See Also: Iraq Votes: Constitution Referendum