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Spokesman Hints At New Extension For Iraqi Constitution

Iraqi leaders (left to right) President Jalal Talabani, Foreign Minister Hoshyar al-Zebari, and Iyad Allawi 21 August 2005 - A spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Ja'fari said today that political leaders can ask for a fresh one-week extension to complete a draft constitution if they miss tomorrow's deadline.

Spokesman Leith Kubba told reporters that the other possibility is to dissolve the parliament, which emerged from balloting in late January, the country's first election since Saddam Hussein was ousted in early 2003.

The original 15 August deadline has already been extended by a week, and earlier reports suggested that the Iraqi parliament would be forced to dissolve if work on the draft constitution was not completed by the coming deadline.

Reports yesterday suggested the process was deadlocked over the role of Islam in the constitution and the division of Iraq's oil wealth.

A major stumbling bloc reportedly remains over whether to make Islam "the" main source of legislation or just "a" main source.

Compromises in the draft appear to have been found over many issues, with Kurdish and Shi'ite deputies agreeing to the name Republic of Iraq, without the words "federal" or "Islamic."


[For more background and news of events in Iraq, see our dedicated The New Iraq webpage.]

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