Iraq’s parliament convenes to consider constitution deal, despite of insurgents’ attempts to wreck the referendum

A suicide bomber killed 30 Iraqis at an army recruiting center Wednesday, and parliament convened a special session to approve a last-minute compromise to gain Sunni support on the draft constitution.

Iraq's top leaders, including the Kurdish president, Sunni Arab vice-president, and Shiite prime minister, lined up on stage before the gathered lawmakers in parliament to present a package of new additions to the constitution aimed at addressing concerns of Sunnis who until now have been campaigning to defeat the charter in Saturday's referendum.

"The new amendments on the draft open wide horizons and give everyone another chance to have a proportional role to participate in the political process to build the new Iraqi government," Parliament Speaker Hajim al-Hassani told the lawmakers.

The head of the constitutional committee then began reading out the additions to lawmakers for them to vote on.

The central addition gives Sunnis the promise that once the constitution is passed Saturday and a new parliament is elected in December, they will have the opportunity to try to make major changes to the documents.

Sunnis are hoping to have a larger representation in the next parliament and want to try to water down the autonomous powers that Shiite and Kurdish regions will hold under the constitution's federal system. But the current additions give no guarantee that the Sunnis will be able to push through the changes in the future - only that they'll have the chance to try.

The breakthrough compromise, reached Tuesday night after days of intense negotiation, greatly increase the likelihood that the draft constitution will pass in Saturday's referendum.

Sunni-led insurgents have been wreaking violence in a bid to wreck the referendum and scare voters away from the polls. At least 433 people have been killed in militant violence in the last 17 days, the AP reports. A.M.

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