Saturday, September 24, 2005

Azzaman: More than half of Iraqis reject certain articles in constitution

"Baghdad (Azzaman) By Nidhal Al-Mawsawi - Iraqis in Baghdad are unhappy with the paragraphs related to civil status and women’s standing in the society in the controversial draft constitution, a survey by an independent group has found.

Over 500 people from various backgrounds were questioned in the study by Nida al-Hurriya Center.

“57% of those questioned stand against the paragraphs on civil status under which family affairs should be organized and settled in the light of religious courts by the country’s various sects and religions,” the center said.

The study was conducted inside Baghdad, a city of more than five million people where Iraqi Sunnis, Shiites and many Kurds live.

The aim of the study was mainly to see Iraqis’ reaction to the civil status rules in the draft constitution which is to be put before a referendum on October 15.

If more than 50% of eligible voters across Iraq or in only three provinces turn the constitution down, it will never have the force of law. “The target of the study was to see what the people in Baghdad think of the role of women in the constitution,” the center said in a fax to the newspaper.

The constitution gives clerics from various religious sects a big say in family affairs like marriage, divorce and inheritance to apply strict Islamic rules in this regard. The country’s civil status laws under former leader Saddam Hussein were generally secular in character and among the most advanced in the Middle East.

The study has revealed that only 28% of Iraqis support the constitution with regard to the role of women. The majority of respondents think Iraqi women should be given a “much bigger role” in political life.

Only 26% stood against allowing women to assume high-ranking posts in the state and government. The battle for the controversial constitution is a decisive one in the violence-torn country."
The Kurdisani


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