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Iraqi Governing Council Agrees On Interim Constitution

Baghdad, 1 March 2004, (RFE/RL) -- The Iraqi Governing Council has reached an agreement on an interim constitution.

The interim constitution is intended to govern Iraq until an elected assembly can draft a permanent charter. Members of the council had been divided over issues such as Islamic law, the status of Kurdish areas, and women's rights.

But a spokesman for council member Ahmad Chalabi said the council had reached "full agreement on each article" early today.

The spokesman, Entifadh Qanbar, told Western news agencies (Reuters, AFP) that the draft recognizes Islam as "a source of legislation," but not "the" source as some officials had wanted.

Qanbar said the draft constitution accepts the principle of federalism but leaves to the future elected national assembly the details of self-rule for the Kurdish minority.

He also said the document sets aside for women 25 percent of the seats in the provisional legislature.

Qanbar said he expected the document to be signed on 3 March, a day after a Shi'ite holiday. Top U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer must then approve the document.