The agreement announced by Iraq’s interim Governing Council that details the plans to hand over the control of Iraq to a sovereign transitional administration by the end of June 2004 includes a bill of rights calling for freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
The council reached the agreement – the text of which has been obtained by WorldNetDaily – with the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, or CPA, on a timetable that allows for a full-fledged Iraqi government with a permanent constitution to be in power by the end of 2005.
The new timetable, which was announced Saturday, followed talks between the 24-member council and the chief administrator, L. Paul Bremer, who returned Thursday from Washington after talks with President George W. Bush and senior advisers.
Prior to the forming of a “Transitional National Assembly” the document calls for elements of the “Fundamental Law” to be established.
The “Fundamental Law” will be drafted by the Governing Council in close consultation with the Coalition Provisional Authority.
It will be approved by both the Governing Council and CPA and will formally set forth the scope and structure of the sovereign Iraqi transitional administration.
The drafting and approval of “Fundamental Law” is to be complete by Feb. 28.
“Fundamental Law” will include:
- A bill of rights, to include freedom of speech and religion; a statement of equal rights for all Iraqis, regardless of gender, sect or ethnicity; and guarantees of due process;
- Federal arrangement for Iraq, to include governorates and the separation and specification of powers to be exercised by central and local entities;
- Statement of the independence of the judiciary and a mechanism for judicial review;
- Statement of civilian political control over Iraqi armed and security forces;
- Statement that the Fundamental Law cannot be amended;
- An expiration date for Fundamental Law; and
- A timetable for the drafting of Iraq’s permanent constitution by a body directly elected by the Iraqi people, for ratifying the permanent constitution and for holding elections under the new constitution.
Bilateral agreements on security are to be made between the CPA and Governing Council and completed by the end of March 2004. The agreements are to cover the status of coalition forces in Iraq, giving wide latitude to provide for “the safety and security of the Iraqi people.”
Transitional National Assembly
Fundamental Law will specify the bodies of the national structure and will ultimately spell out the process by which individuals are selected for these bodies.
Certain guidelines must be agreed to in advance, and include:
- The Transitional Assembly will not be an expansion of the Governing Council;
- The GC will have no formal role in selecting members of the assembly; and
- The GC will dissolve upon the establishment and recognition of the transitional administration. Individual members of the GC will be eligible to serve in the transitional assembly, if elected according to the following process.
Election of members of the Transitional National Assembly
The election of TNA members is to be conducted through a “transparent, participatory, democratic” process of caucuses in each of Iraq’s 18 governorates.
In each governorate, the CPA will supervise a process by which an “Organizing Committee” of Iraqis will be formed. The purpose of the Organizing Committee is to convene a “Governorate Selection Caucus” of “notables” from around the governorate.
The Organizing Committee will include five individuals appointed by the Governing Council, five Individuals appointed by the Provincial Council, and one individual appointed by the local council of the five largest cities within the governorate.
To convene the Governorate Selection Caucus, the Organizing Committee will solicit nominations from political parties, provincial/local councils, professional and civic associations, university faculties, professional and civic associations, and tribal and religious groups.
Nominees have to meet the criteria set out for candidates in the Fundamental Law.
To be selected as a member of the Governorate Selection Caucus, any nominee will need to be approved by an 11-of-15 majority of the Organizing Committee.
Each Governorate Selection Caucus will select representatives to represent the governorate in the new transitional assembly –based on the governorate’s percentage of Iraq’s population.
The Transitional National Assembly is to be elected no later than May 31.
Restoration of Iraq’s sovereignty
Following the selection of members of the transitional assembly, it will meet to elect an executive branch and to appoint ministers.
According to the plan, by June 30, the new transitional administration will be recognized by the coalition and will assume full sovereign powers for governing Iraq.
The Coalition Provisional Authority will then dissolve.
Adoption of permanent constitution
The timeline and constitutional process will be included in the Fundamental Law.
A permanent constitution for Iraq will be prepared by a constitutional convention directly elected by the Iraqi people.
Elections for the convention will be held no later than March 15, 2005.
A draft of the constitution will be circulated for public comment and debate.
A final draft of the constitution will be presented to the public, and a popular referendum will be held to ratify the constitution.
Elections for a new Iraqi government will be held by December 31, 2005, at which point the Fundamental Law will expire and a new government will take power.
The agreement is signed by Jalal Talabani for the Governing Council and L. Paul Bremer and David Richmond for the Coalition Provisional Authority.