One Week Ago…
Abdul Hussein al-Hindawi, a senior member of Iraq’s Independent Election Commission, said he was unhappy with early reports of a “yes” victory.
“We are trying to remain cool. Our credibility depends on it,” he told AFP.
Hindawi said he had been “surprised” by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s brief forecast Sunday of voters’ approval, saying: “As far as I know, she’s not a member of the electoral commission.”
But a source close to the electoral commission acknowledged that it seemed “very difficult” for the “no” vote to win.
The constitution requires a simple majority to be approved but could be defeated if two-thirds of voters in three of Iraq’s 18 provinces reject it.
There are majority Sunni populations in four provinces — Al-Anbar, Diyala, Nineveh and Salaheddin — and all reported strong voter turnout.
Media reports of a “yes” victory in Nineveh, which includes the restive mixed city of Mosul were refuted by regional electoral head Dhaher Habib al-Juburi, who said: “There is no truth to these reports,” and stressed it would take days for the ballots to be properly counted.
Sunni sources in Nineveh told Al-Jazeera over 75% of voters in the province gave the controversial charter the thumbs down.
Two provinces in Iraq have rejected the Iraqi draft constitution, Iraqi electoral officials have reported.
The Sunni-dominated provinces of Salahuddin and Anbar rejected the document by vast margins.
The Sunni province of Diyala has voted for the constitution.
This means the fate of the current document depends on the result in the Sunni province of Nineveh, which is expected on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Under the rules of the referendum on the constitution, three provinces have to vote “No” for the constitution to be rejected.
The draft Iraqi constitution appears to have failed as the Sunni province of Nineveh joined forces with two other Sunni districts in voting down the document, a senior Sunni leader has said.
“We received credible information that vote counting in the northern city of Mosul, capital of the predominantly-Sunni Nineveh, indicated that more than two-thirds of voters had rejected the draft,” Saleh Al-Mutlaq, the leader of the umbrella body Iraqi National Dialogue Council, told IslamOnline.net.
He also cited semi-confirmed reports that the charter was rejected in Al-Anbar, where Sunnis constitute a majority.
Dignitaries and tribal chieftains in the largely Sunni province of Nineveh have warned of massive fraud in vote counting of the constitutional referendum, calling for an international inquiry.
“About 80% of the Nineveh voters retuned “No” vote to the constitution,” the Nineveh Shura Council said in a statement issued Saturday, October 23.
“This has motivated collaborators to delay vote results on claims of verifying what they say a high “Yes” vote in the southern provinces.”
The Nineveh council stressed that such a fable pretext “substantiates leaked reports of massive fraud where ballots are being replaced and new ones with names of voters from Christian villages adjacent to Mosul are being added.”
The commission said Saturday that partial resulted showed 81.5 percent of voters in the Sunni Salaheddin province voted down the controversial document.