Sunnis street battles against constitution

Iraq's Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds failed to battle against draft constitution in the halls, so they prepared Monday to take their fight over the charter to the streets, mosques and airwaves ahead of a nationwide referendum on the document.

As many as 6 million copies of the draft are being printed for distribution to Iraqi citizens before the Oct. 15 vote. Kurdish and Shiite politicians, who finalized the text over the weekend despite the objections of Sunni Arabs, vowed to make a strong push for passage, Los Angeles Times informs.

"We will use everything," said Jawad Maliki, a Shiite politician who helped draft the charter. "We will use mosque preachers. We will even use Christian churches. We will use everything we need to make a great campaign for this constitution."

But Sunni Arabs, bitterly opposed to a document they view as a recipe for dismembering Iraq into semi-autonomous regions, vowed to oppose the constitution in the courts, through international forums, and in the voting booth, even though some doubt they can beat the powerful Shiites and Kurds at the polls. said before, that Monday Sunni Arab anger over the proposed constitution spilled onto the streets of Saddam Hussein's hometown, Tikrit, where about 1,000 demonstrators marched to condemn the proposed charter and held up portraits of the deposed Iraqi president.

About 85 percent of Sunni Arabs boycotted parliamentary elections in January, but Iraqi officials predicted many more would take part in the October poll. Iraqi election officials said Sunni Arab tribal leaders have asked for new voter-registration centers in their parts of the country, and authorities yesterday approved a one-week extension, until Sept. 7, for voters in Sunni-dominated Al Anbar province to join the voter rolls.

"This time is different," said Hussain Hindawi, an election official. "Last time they were boycotting. This time they were practically begging us to open election centers."

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