Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, June 17, 2005

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Iraq’s Path to Democracy
Ros-Lehtinen Schedules Wednesday Hearing
to Examine Iraq’s Transition to Democracy

BACKGROUND:  The cornerstone of the U.S. political and diplomatic strategy in Iraq has been its support for an elected government. On January 30, almost 8.5 million Iraqis went to the polls to elect a 275-seat transitional National Assembly.  Sectarian and ethnic identity was a major issue in the formation of a new government and the post-Saddam power structure, and the election results triggered factional bargaining over positions in the new government and the future of Iraq.  The Administration’s view is that the bargaining process is to be expected as Iraq undergoes transition from Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship to democracy, and represents a healthy sign of political negotiation replacing violence as the determinant of political outcomes in Iraq.  As the Government of Iraq drafts a permanent constitution, there are several benchmarks and deadlines required by the Transitional Administrative Law, including a completed draft constitution by August 15, 2005 and a referendum on the constitution scheduled no later than October 15, 2005. If voters approve the constitution, the country must schedule a general election no later than December 15. A delay in the drafting and ratification of the constitution would cause a delay in all subsequent steps of the transition.


WHAT:                              Subcommittee Oversight Hearing:  Iraq’s Transition to Democracy
Subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia
                                           U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chair

WHEN:                              2:00 p.m., Wednesday, June 29, 2005

WHERE:                            Room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESS                        Richard Jones,
                                            Senior Advisor to the Secretary and Coordinator for Iraq,
Department of State.

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