Wednesday, May 09, 2007
we need a resolution:
This Times piece has Tariq al-Hashemi aflutter over his face time with Maliki. The Sunni Accordance Front has threatened to walk out of the political process if the year-overdue constitutional amendments don't move forward, and chances are they will indeed go for a vote.

But look at how the fix is in for actually changing the constitution, as opposed to merely moving a bill forward. Via IraqSlogger-translating-Aswat al-Iraq, a member of the constitution committee raises the curtain:

Ti'ma explained that any decision in the Parliament will take all the amendments as a package in one up-or-down vote, rather than voting on each individual amendment.

If the Parliament approves the amendments, they will be submitted to a popular referendum for final approval.

A two-step impediment. If omnibus voting doesn't call together a coalition of people objecting to various proposals, the referendum will repeat the sectarian bloc-vote that guaranteed passage of a Shiite and Kurdish constitution in October 2005. Once again, rejection is guaranteed by "two third of the voters in three governorates or more," a very easy standard to meet in the Shiite south. Bitter harvest, indeed.
--Spencer Ackerman