Iraqi voters approved a new constitution in a referendum 10 days ago, according to final results announced by electoral officials Tuesday, delivering a blow to Sunni Arabs who came close to defeating the charter and who will now try to amend it after electing a new parliament in December.
Many Sunni Arabs had hoped to kill the constitution by rallying two-thirds of the voters in three of Iraq's 18 provinces to vote against it — a veto provision designed to protect Iraq's minorities. They came close, winning solid majorities against the constitution in three provinces, but they fell short of the two-thirds threshold in the third.
The results came amid continuing violence and a new rash of car bombings that killed at least 18 people Tuesday — six in Baghdad and 12 in a car bombing in Sulaymaniyah, a normally tranquil city about 170 miles north of Baghdad, in the Kurdish region of Iraq.
Iraq has been run since June 2004 by two successive transitional governments under an interim constitution drafted, in part, by U.S. and British officials. The new, Iraqi-drafted charter calls for the Dec. 15 election of a National Assembly that will sit for four years and appoint a government that U.S. officials and many Iraqis hope can confront the insurgency more effectively, reports the Seattle Times.
Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari said the attacks Monday night and Tuesday were timed to the announcement of voting results and meant to signal the rebels' rejection of the constitution.
"These terrorists are going to take their last breath before they vanish," Jafari told reporters.
Iraq has been run since June 2004 by two transitional governments under an interim constitution drafted with the help of American and British officials.
The new, Iraqi-drafted charter calls for the Dec. 15 election of a National Assembly that will sit for four years and appoint a government that U.S. officials and many Iraqis hope can confront the insurgency more effectively.
Sunni Muslim Arabs, who make up about one-fifth of the country's population, voted overwhelmingly against the charter.
Voters in each of the three northern provinces dominated by Kurds favored the constitution by margins of 99 to 1.
In each of the nine predominantly Shiite provinces in the south, the yes votes accounted for more than 94% of the total.
Thanks to Shiites and Kurds, the charter passed in mixed provinces. It drew 78% support in Baghdad, 63% in Al Tamim and 51% in Diyala. The nationwide yes vote was 78.59%, informs Los Angeles Times.