Sep 29, 2005 3:19 pm


Another must read article by Amir Taheri includes the results from two recent public opinion surveys. They are full with good news as his report about radical Iraqi Sunnis demanding the Zarqawi leave them alone:

One survey was conducted by the Civil Alliance for Free Elections (CAFA), a grouping of 76 non-governmental organizations representing all ethnic and religious communities. CAFA held over 1,000 workshops in all of Iraq's 18 provinces in July and August, with more than 40,000 respondents.

The survey showed that more than 80 percent were determined to take part in the constitutional referendum.

The key features of the proposed draft enjoyed considerable support. For example, on the controversial issue of federalism, 44 percent were for and 35 percent against, with the rest having no opinion. Only 21 percent said they wanted a highly-centralized system of government.

On the role of religion in legislation, another controversial issue, 65 percent said they agreed for Islam to be a source of law rather than only source. Twenty-five percent, both Shi'ites and Sunnis, wanted Islam to be the sole source, while nine percent wanted it to have no role.

As for the draft constitution's requirement for 25 percent of lawmakers to be women, 72 percent either agreed or wanted the figure to be higher. Only 10 percent wanted to keep women out.

THE SECOND survey, conducted by the Iraqi Center for Development and International Dialogue (ICDID), showed that 88 per cent of those eligible to vote intend to vote, while six percent remain undecided. Only five percent would not vote.

The poll surveyed the opinions of 3,667 people, aged 18 years and older in 15 of the 18 provinces, including Baghdad. It found that 88 percent believed in the need to hold the referendum under the present circumstances, 10 percent did not believe so, and 2 percent did not respond.

Only 34 percent of the sample thought that Iraq was not an independent and sovereign country at present, largely because it did not have an army and police of its own to ensure internal and external security.

In this survey 46 percent supported a federal or decentralized system of government, while 45 percent wanted a centralized model, indicating that Iraqis are divided on this crucial issue.

About 42 percent supported Islam as a source of legislation and 24 percent supported it as the only source. About 13 percent thought no laws that contradict Islam should be enacted.

About 84 percent supported granting women all freedoms without contradicting Islam, and 13 percent believed the rights of women should be guaranteed through equality with men. About 60 percent supported maintaining the present percentage of women in parliament (25 percent), 21 percent thought women should have 33 percent, and 14 percent thought there should be equal representation of males and females.

About 78 percent expected the security situation to improve after the referendum, 15 percent expected it to remain the same, and 2 percent believed things would become worse. About 85 percent showed interest in the elections to be held in December to choose a National Assembly (parliament), while 10 percent did not show interest. (The assembly will, in turn, name a new government.)

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