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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 August 2005, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
Iraq constitution: Sticking points
Politicians from Iraq's main ethnic groups are edging towards finalising the wording of the country's draft constitution.

Compromises have been found over many contentious issues. Kurdish and Shia politicians have agreed on the text as a whole, but Sunni politicians have opposed provisions which they believe may allow further federalism and they fear the break-up of Iraq.

FEDERALISM

Devolution remains a problem, with Sunni Arab groups saying they will reject a federal Iraq.

Many Sunnis have been angered by a proposal by leading Shia politician Abdul Aziz al-Hakim for an autonomous region in the oil-rich south.

And while both Sunni and Shia Arab groups accept Kurdish autonomy in the north, there is no agreement on how to define Kurdish federalism.

The Kurds themselves are seeking demarcated boundaries, control over revenues and a self-contained defence force. Some are also pushing for eventual independence.

NATURAL RESOURCES

Distribution of the wealth from the world's third largest oil reserves remains a major bone of contention.

Sunni Arabs want revenues from oil and other natural resources to be controlled and redistributed by a centralised government structure.

The Kurds are seeking to annex oil-rich areas around Kirkuk not currently in their autonomous area and receive a share of the revenue from the oilfields.

Shia Iraqis, meanwhile, want a share of revenue from the southern oilfields.

POWER STRUCTURE

There are still believed to be differences over structuring of authority between the presidency, parliament and the government.

DE-BAATHIFICATION

Reports say politicians are yet to agree on the terminology used in eradicating the influence of the former Baath regime.

The debate appears to be over whether to use the term Baath party or Saddam's Baath.

THE ROLE OF ISLAM

While delegates have agreed that Islam should be the official state religion, there are differences about the role of clerics and the place of Islam in legislation.

Delegates debated whether Islam should be inscribed as the main source of law - the view of the Shia United Iraqi Alliance, the majority bloc in parliament - or just one source of law.

There are also differences over the role of Islamic Sharia law, with many Shia delegates urging for Sharia to be adopted in family and civil law.




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