Sunday, February 01, 2004

NZ may learn from new Iraqi constitution

Via Juan Cole - Debate Begins on Structure of Transitional Government:

"The draft law calls for a tripartite presidency, which could help balance power between the three dominant religious and ethnic groups. It is likely to be made up of members of those groups -- Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.

"The proposal would also require that women hold at least 40 percent of the seats in the transitional national assembly and in a constitutional convention, an effort to ensure women's rights in a nation that has vocal fundamentalist Muslim strains."

At least 40% women! Puts NZ to shame.
Guaranteed representation for major ethnic groups - sounds like the NZ Labour Party. Oh, but this is all supported by Bush - must oppose.

"The document does not call for the strict version of Sharia religious law in place in countries such as Saudi Arabia, but rather says that the broad sweep of Islam -- encompassing a vast landscape of thought and legal concepts -- should be the principal source for legislation."

Recent comments by NZ liberal pundits about Islamic law and the new Iraq appear to be, surprise surprise, a bit alarmist. It's ironic that it is the very liberals who go out of their way to prove they have nothing against Islam per se who conflate anything Islam with fundamentalism, suggesting that the Iraqi constitution giving any recognition to the country's Islamic heritage must, ipso facto, be bad for women and democracy in general.

But seriously, we here in NZ are trying to workout constitutional arrangements of ethnic representation and it is not easy. So why should we expect there not to be heated debate and negotiation on this issue in the far more complex situation of Iraq?

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