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Supporters of Abdul al-Aziz al-Hakim rally outside polling station in Baghdad, 15 December 2005 (epa)
11 January 2006 -- An influential Iraqi Shi'ite politician has warned Sunni Arabs that the Shi'ites would not allow substantial amendments to the country's new constitution, which was approved in a referendum in October.
Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, said provincial governments will remain strong in the constitution.
To win their support for the new constitution, Sunni Arabs were promised they could propose amendments during the first four months of the new parliament. The new assembly is expected to open toward the end of February.
Sunni Arabs would prefer a strong central government rather to a substantial devolution of power to provincial and regional authorities.
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