Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Iraqi parliament reverses rule change

The Iraqi parliament has backpedalled on its recent election rigging efforts, reportedly due to UN and US pressure. In response, several Sunni groups have vowed not to boycott the referendum, although they promise to work feverishly to garner enough votes for a rejection. As the AP explains:

Under the restored election rules, Sunnis can defeat the document if they get a two-thirds "no" vote in any three provinces, even if a nationwide majority approves the charter. Sunnis have a chance of doing so in four of 18 provinces.

The Shiite-dominated parliament tried to close that loophole Sunday by passing a new interpretation of the rules, determining that a simple majority of those who cast votes was needed to pass the constitution but that two-thirds of all registered voters had to vote no in three provinces to defeat it.

That effectively raised the bar for defeating the constitution to an impossible level, and the United Nations cried foul.

After a brief debate Wednesday, the National Assembly voted 119 to 28 to restore the original voting rules for the referendum. Only about half of the 275-member legislative body turned up for the vote.