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Iraqi Politicians Concerned By New Kurdish Constitution

BAGHDAD -- Sunni and Shi'ite Arab parliamentarians say the constitution of Iraqi's autonomous Kurdish region runs counter to Iraq's national constitution and should be debated by the country's parliament in Baghdad, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) reports.

Dhafir al-Ani, the head of the Sunni Accordance Front bloc, told RFI that the Kurdish Constitution -- which was recently approved by the regional legislature -- contains formulations that have a secessionist tendency. He added that some of its provisions give regionally enacted laws precedence over Iraq's federal constitution.

Al-Ani stressed that the Accordance Front also does not recognize the Kurdish Constitution as a legal document because it incorporates predominantly Arab areas within Iraqi Kurdistan.

Al-Ani added that the region's constitution invites foreign interference in Iraq's affairs.

Abbas al-Bayati of the Shi'ite United Iraqi Alliance bloc told RFI that the Kurdish Constitution declares disputed areas as part of Iraqi Kurdistan, although the Iraqi Constitution clearly delineates the Kurdish region's boundaries as excluding these areas.

Al-Bayati said the Kurdish Constitution should be debated by the parliament in Baghdad to define discrepancies and pinpoint provisions of it that clash with the federal constitution.

Farzand Ahmad of the Kurdistan Alliance bloc told RFI that Kurds will not submit their constitution to scrutiny by Baghdad because there is no constitutional provision that provides for such a measure.

Ahmad added that the Kurdish Constitution was drafted by a team of legal and constitutional experts and the draft was then presented to the central government's consultative council and the Baghdad parliament's presidium for examination before it was voted on by the Kurdish parliament, underlining that the Kurds are acting within their rights.