Votes are being counted today in Iraq after a relatively peaceful Saturday when millions turned out to say yes or no to the draft constitution before them:
Preliminary estimates say that about 10 million people – roughly 65% of voters -have cast their ballot, but results are not expected for several days.
Kofi Annan noted the courage of those who turned out to defy the insurgents:
For the second time this year, the people of Iraq have braved difficult conditions and the threat of violence to exercise the vote
The key points of the constitution are below:
Iraq to be federal, parliamentary democracy
Official languages to be Arabic and Kurdish
Official religion to be Islam but religious freedoms guaranteed
Equal rights for all
Elections every four years
Further political background is provided by the BBC here.
The Your Views section also contains a few Iraqi contributions, three of which are set out below:
This constitution is dangerous and could split the country into three pieces. This would be a disaster and something which must be avoided. Islam should be used and political Islam should be used to draft a constitution as the one thing Iraq could be united on is Islam.
Khalid Bryce, London, UK
I have thoroughly read the constitution and it’s a most modern document that guarantees all the basic rights, ensures equality of women, freedom, rule of law, unity, etc. It is political spin that makes people doubt it. I wonder what those who oppose it want. It really is incredible that a Third World country can debate and negotiate at this high level. It really is a document the world should be proud of. Whatever you do you will never convince al-Qaeda terrorists. Nor will you convince the Sunnis who, despite being a minority, have ruled the country for decades, to accept fairness, justice and equality.
Mohammed, London, UK
It is far from a perfect constitution and it will surely displease some, but it is the first constitution which will be chosen by referendum in a free Iraq and therefore should be supported.
Mohammed al-Sader, Dublin, Ireland