Iraq Agrees to Delay Constitution Deadline


Just 20 minutes before midnight, parliament voted to give negotiators another seven days, until Aug. 22, to try to draft the charter.

Iraqi legislatures were not willing to rush to a final draft. If the agreement is reached within the next week then Iraqis will vote sometime around October 15th.

The Shiites said the unresolved issues were women’s rights, which is inextricably tied to Islam’s role, and the right of Kurds to eventually secede from the country. But al-Jaafari said the key stumbling blocks were distribution of oil wealth and federalism, another, broader way of stating the Kurdish autonomy issue.

The confusion over outstanding issues — as well as negotiators’ seeming inability to agree even on what they disagreed on — left unclear whether they will now reopen talks on all issues or just focus on a few.

U.S. officials downplayed the significance of the delay, and President Bush expressed confidence the Iraqis would reach consensus.

“I applaud the heroic efforts of Iraqi negotiators and appreciate their work to resolve remaining issues through continued negotiation and dialogue,” he said in a statement. “Their efforts are a tribute to democracy and an example that difficult problems can be solved peacefully through debate, negotiation and compromise.”

Robert Mayer at Publius Pundit has a good analysis on the one week delay.

Omar and Mohammed at Iraq the Model were live blogging the story as it unraveled today.

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