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Iraqis Sign Interim Constitution

Baghdad, 8 March 2004 (RFE/RL) -- All 25 members of the Iraqi Governing Council today signed the country's interim constitution.

The signing of the basic law was originally planned for last week but was postponed twice -- once after a series of bomb explosions targeting Shi'ites and again after Shi'ites on the council expressed concerns with the terms.

A large explosion was heard in central Baghdad a kilometer from the convention center where the delegates signed the document.

The interim constitution is a key part of U.S. plans to hand power to the Iraqis on 30 June. The charter will remain in force until a permanent constitution is approved in a referendum planned for late 2005.