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Fate of Iraq's Draft Constitution in Doubt

In Iraq, another deadline has come and gone without agreement on a draft constitution. After a day of conflicting reports over whether there would be a deal, the speaker of Iraq's National Assembly, Hashim al Hassani, announced shortly before midnight that negotiators need more time.

Iraqi negotiators made a last-minute attempt to resolve remaining differences over a draft constitution. But amid strong opposition from Sunni Arabs to the draft and new clashes between rival Shiite militias, the prospects for an agreement appear bleak.

One likely option would be to bypass the assembly and put the constitution agreed upon by Shiites and Kurdish groups before the Iraqi people in a national referendum.

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Philip Reeves is an award-winning international correspondent covering South America. Previously, he served as NPR's correspondent covering Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India.