Some highlights of the draft constitution. The draft is in Arabic and was translated by the AP.
ROLE OF ISLAM:
The draft states that Islam is the official religion and ''a basic source of legislation." No law can be passed that contradicts the ''undisputed rules" of the Islamic faith or ''the principles of democracy." The constitution also ''guarantees the Islamic identity of the majority of the Iraqi people and the full religious rights for all individuals and the freedom of creed and religious practices." However, it also establishes a Supreme Federal Court to determine whether laws are constitutional. The court will be made up of ''a number of judges and experts in sharia and law," language that suggests clerics would sit on the court, a move that could influence decisions on issues such as women's rights.
SADDAM HUSSEIN'S PARTY:
The constitution bans organizations that ''advocate, instigate, justify or propagate" racism, terrorism, the declaring of someone as an infidel, sectarian cleansing, and ''especially the Saddamist Ba'ath in Iraq and its symbols, under any name." Many Sunni Arabs held posts within the Ba'ath Party. The version finished yesterday struck the word ''party" from the phrase ''Saddam's Ba'ath Party," which could enable a future Ba'ath Party to emerge.
Iraq is declared to be ''an independent, sovereign nation, and the system of rule in it is a democratic, federal, representative republic." The constitution also describes Iraq as ''a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-sect country" that is ''part the Islamic world" and ''its Arab people are part of the Arab nation." The language is a concession to Kurds and other non-Arabs. Many Sunni Arabs wanted Iraq to be declared an Arab nation, albeit with non-Arab minorities. Kurdish is declared an official language on par with Arabic.
The constitution states that individual provinces can declare themselves a region and unite with other regions if certain legal steps are taken. This would enable Shi'ite provinces of the south to unite into a giant Shi'ite federated region. It could also allow for expansion of the Kurdish self-ruled region at the expense of Arab areas. Sunni Arabs fear this would lead to the disintegration of the country and open the whole area to Iranian influence. In a concession to Sunnis in the version finished yesterday, a future parliament will be permitted to establish the rules for implementing federalism.