Monday, October 17, 2005

The provinces of Anbar, Ninevah, Diyala, Salahuddin and Kirkuk all rejected the constitution?

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/world/12920119.htm

According to Liz Sly at the Chicago Tribune, 16 October 2005, Sunni leaders are disputing reports of the constitution's likely passage.

In London, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters that early indications suggested that the constitution had "probably passed."

Sunni Arab leaders suspect the vote has been fixed.

"We think that this statement by Condoleezza Rice is astonishing because it is trying to mask the big rejection that this draft has faced all over Iraq," said a statement by the National Dialogue Council, a Sunni group that was a leading campaigner for a "no" vote.

Election officials said the official count of the ballots won't begin until Monday, and that an official result is still days away.

Addressing reporters in Baghdad, Saleh Mutlaq, a leader of the National Dialogue Council, said he suspected Rice's remarks were intended as a "signal" to Iraqi election officials to declare a favorable outcome of the voting, in which Iraqis voted "yes" or "no" on the question: Do you approve of the draft constitution?

"We would like to warn of the dangers of fixing these results and passing this constitution by force," he said. "This would create a backlash that cannot be contained, including civil disobedience."

For the constitution to fail, it would have to be rejected either by a simple majority of all voters or by a two-thirds majority in three provinces.

The National Dialogue Council issued what it claimed were figures showing that two-thirds of the voters had rejected the poll in five provinces, giving them the numbers they need to block the constitution. The provinces of Anbar, Ninevah, Diyala, Salahuddin and Kirkuk all rejected the constitution with more than 70 percent voting "no," the Council said.

Although there is still no official count of the ballots, political parties are entitled to post monitors in polling stations and they dispatch their own tally of the results to their party leaders. Ballots are first counted at the polling stations, the results are recorded, and then the boxes are dispatched to Baghdad's fortified Green Zone for an official tally, which will begin Monday.

In Anbar either the threat of violence or calls for a boycott by local leaders appeared to have kept voters away. More than 60 polling places did not open.


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