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Iraq okays interim charter
March 01, 2004 14:09 IST
After missing a February 28 deadline, Iraq's governing council agreed on an interim constitution on Monday.
The spokesman of the 25-member council, Hameed Kefaey, said the draft would be formally signed on Wednesday. The constitution will also provide a framework for the intermin government expected to take charge in July.
The council comprises leaders from almost all of Iraq's ethnic and religious groups, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds and Turkmen.The deal had been bogged down over disagreements over the role of Islam, women in government and the demands for Kurdish autonomy in the northern part of the country.
Shias, who constitute 60 per cent of the country's population, want Islamic laws enforced. On Friday, Shia members of the council had stormed out of the meeting in protest over the cancellation of a previous ruling that would have placed divorce and inheritance under Islamic laws.
"Islam will be the official religion of the state and it will be a source of legislation. Also, the law will say to respect Islam as the religion of the majority," Kefaey said. "Federalism also has been approved as a form of government," he added.