Under the new rules, the constitution will fail only if two-thirds of all registered voters - rather than two-thirds of all those actually casting ballots - reject it in at least three of the 18 provinces.Isn't it a clever disincentive to violence? Preventing voting undercuts the cause of the very people who were motivated to prevent voting. Given the reality of the threat, why isn't this incentive justified to allow people to vote?
The change, adopted during an unannounced vote in Parliament on Sunday afternoon, effectively raises the bar for those who oppose the constitution. Given that fewer than 60 percent of registered Iraqis voted in the January elections, the chances that two-thirds will both show up at the polls and vote against the document in three provinces would appear to be close to nil....
Other Shiite members of the assembly defended their action. They said that if only people who came to the polls were counted in the referendum, insurgent attacks could frighten away so many voters that the constitution could be rejected on the basis of a small, unrepresentative sample of voters.
The legal passage in question states: "The general referendum will be successful and the draft constitution ratified if a majority of voters in Iraq approve and if two-thirds of voters in three or more governorates do not reject it."It is awfully hard to support the interpretation. I wonder if the theory of "Active Liberty" would help.
In their vote on Sunday, the Shiite and Kurdish members interpreted the law as follows: the constitution will pass if a majority of ballots are cast for it; it will fail if two-thirds of registered voters in three or more provinces vote against it. In other words, the lawmakers designated two different meanings for the word "voters" in one passage. "I think it's a double standard, and it's unfair," said Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish assembly member who, like many other lawmakers, said he had not been present during the vote and only learned of it afterward. "When it's in your favor, you say 'voters.' When it's not in your favor you say 'eligible voters.' "