RealNews

Iraq Council Signs Constitution; Top Cleric Unhappy

Iraq’s Governing Council signed an interim constitution Monday after weeks of wrangling in a key step for the June 30 launch of a sovereign Iraqi government, but Iraq’s top Shi’ite cleric sharply criticized the document. Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who wields immense influence over the country’s 60 percent Shi’ite majority, said in a statement Monday the interim charter would make it harder for Iraq to agree on a permanent constitution, a foundation for democracy. Sistani’s objections to the document forced the signing of the constitution to be abandoned at the last minute Friday when five Shi’ite council members backed out of the ceremony. After talks at the weekend with Sistani and other clerics in the holy city of Najaf they went ahead with the signing Monday. Full Story

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