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Iraq's Parliament Reverses Change on Referendum Rules


Iraq's parliament has reversed controversial new election rules it adopted earlier this week for the upcoming referendum on the country's new constitution.

With only about half of the legislators present, parliament voted 119 - 28 Wednesday to restore the original rules for the October 15 vote.

Those rules stipulate that the constitution will be approved if a simple majority of voters cast "yes" ballots, and if two thirds of voters in at least three provinces do not vote "no." Shi'ite and Kurdish lawmakers had tried to ensure the document's approval by changing the "two thirds of voters" language to the less likely "two thirds of registered voters."

United Nations and U.S. officials had expressed concerns over the change, as did Sunni Arab officials and independent lawmakers who called it illegal and threatened to boycott the referendum.

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