Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The referendum on Iraq's draft constitution has passed, according to final provisional results issued Tuesday by Iraqi election officials.

On Monday, election officials said the vote count from the province of Nineveh, which has a a significant Sunni Arab population, would help determine the outcome. Sunnis were highly vocal in their opposition to the constitution ahead of the October 15 vote.

The figures show that the tally failed to get a two-thirds "no" vote in at least three of the 18 provinces that would have been required to defeat the measure.

The western province of Anbar -- also with a large Sunni population -- overwhelmingly voted against the document, with a "no" vote of 96 percent. In Salaheddin province, 82 percent rejected the charter.

Authorities with the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq said 7 million people voted in the referendum and that the count so far showed 76 percent approved the draft constitution.

When questioned about extreme results, including the 99 percent "yes" vote in one Kurdish province, electoral officials said U.N. experts and Iraqi teams verified the results.

Shiites and Kurds have largely backed the constitution.

New parliamentary elections are set for December 15.
Of course, CNN had to show this in an article with a photo of yesterday's explosions at the Palestine and Sheraton hotels, and as usual they're mixing apples and oranges: Shiites and Sunnis are religious categories, and Kurds is an ethnic category. Actually, most Kurds are Sunnis so, as Christopher Hitchens alerts, it sends a confusing message to list the three as if they were on the same level.

Anyway, it's great, great news.

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