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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Proposed Iraqi Constitution

Update: Iraq The Model reports that last night when news of the draft was released to the public people went into the streets to celebrate in the south. Three more days and then Parliament will meet again. They supposedly got their copies last night.

(As an aside, I would rather live under what I've read of this Constitution than the EU Constitution. At least this one appears to mean something.) End Update.

Newsday/AP has an story with a lot of the text of the proposed Iraqi Constitution, and it looks pretty good to me. The naysayers are focusing on a few words and ignoring the guarantees of personal and political freedom:
Article Two

The political system is republican, parliamentary, democratic and federal.

1. Islam is a main source for legislation.

* a. No law may contradict Islamic standards.

* b. No law may contradict democratic standards.

* c. No law may contradict the essential rights and freedoms mentioned in this constitution.
Article Seven

1. Any organization that follow a racist, terrorist, extremist, sectarian-cleaning ideology or circulates or justifies such beliefs is banned, especially Saddam's Baath Party in Iraq and its symbols under any name. And this should not be part of the political pluralism in Iraq.

2. The government is committed to fighting terrorism in all its forms, and works to protect Iraqi soil from being a center or passage for terrorist activities.


Article 35

* a. Human freedom and dignity are guaranteed.

* b. No person can be detained or interrogated without a judicial order.

* c. All kinds of physical and psychological torture and inhumane treatment are prohibited, and any confession is considered void if it was taken by force, threats and torture. The person who was harmed has the right to ask for compensation for the financial and moral damage he/she suffered.

Article 36

The State guarantees:

1. Freedom of expression by all means.

2. Freedom of the press, printing, advertising and publishing.

Article 37

Freedom to establish political groups and organizations.

Article 39

Iraqis are free to abide in their personal lives according to their religion, sects, beliefs or choice. This should be organized by law.
Article 151

No less than 25 percent of Council of Deputies seats go to women.

Article 153

This law is considered in force after people vote on it in a general referendum and when it is published in the official Gazette and the Council of Deputies is elected according to it.
You know, I do not see how anyone, including women, could be worse off under this Constitution. Freedom of religion, expression, the press, political organization and requiring judicial warrants for arrests sounds pretty darn good to me.

I certainly hope they arrive at an acceptable constitution. Of course the people it needs to be acceptable to are the ones living in Iraq not us.

All I'm watching for is something that keeps the ownership of the government in the hands of the people and not concentrated in a few power brokers. If the people own it, it will be OK, because even if they get it wrong this time (We did our first time too), they can go back and redo it.
Exactly. I'm looking for the full text now. Democracies are always works in progress.

One encouraging sign is that a Parliament leader seemed to be pressuring the groups involved with negotiating the Constitution.

Once you get the back-and-forth going it is a lot harder to lose the whole ball game.
Admittedly, I am one of the concerned nay sayers. My concern is just that if there are any words promoting Islam in government it will be used and twisted over time to impose sharia on others. It seems that it only takes the door to open up a little before there are demands to open it up all the way.
sharia, if it is enacted, to me anyway, seems like concentrating power in the hands of a few, if it comes to that, then I think it is a failure.

As long as the people have the power to throw the whole thing out and start over, then I'm not concerned, if they lose that, then it's trouble.
This has to be approved by the Parliament and then ratified by popular vote. The question is what is Sharia? Because the constitution both says both that:
"No law may contradict Islamic standards" AND
"No law may contradict democratic standards" AND
"No law may contradict the essential rights and freedoms mentioned in this constitution"

I'm with Tommy, which is why I'm trying to find the full text. It's going to come down to who controlls the courts.
I think Hugh Hewitt has a link on his site to the full text on the NYT.
Thanks, Gindy.
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