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Friday, July 10, 2009

Kurdistan parliament delays constitutional referendum
Andrew Morgan at 2:53 PM ET

[JURIST] The Kurdish Parliament [official website] announced [press release, in Arabic] Friday that it was postponing a public referendum on approval of the Constitution of Kurdistan [text, in Arabic]. The vote had previously been scheduled to coincide with parliamentary elections later this month, but parliamentary president Adnan Mufti [official profile] said that the election commission was unable to organize both votes on the same day for logistical reasons. MPs in the semi-autonomous region of Iraq approved [AFP report] the constitution by a vote of 96-15 in June.

Kurdistan's constitution has been controversial in Iraq. Last month, Shi'ite, Sunni and secular members of the Iraqi Parliament [official website, in Arabic] criticized [AFP report] the constitution, saying that its broad assertions of power and claim to disputed areas such as Kirkuk [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] made it both politically divisive and unconstitutional [IOR report]. In July 2008, Kurdish members of the Iraqi Parliament walked out [JURIST report] to protest a proposed election bill that would establish a provincial council in Kirkuk to include equal numbers of Kurdish, Arabs and Turkmeni representatives.

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