Iraqi Parliament Member Sets Voting Day Scene

Hahim al Hasani, speaker of the Iraqi National Assembly, describes the scene in Iraq as voters head for the polls to vote yes or no on the Iraqi constitution. Al Hasani has voted yes.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

We're joined by Hachim al-Hasani who is speaker of the Iraqi National Assembly. He's on the line from Baghdad.

Mr. Speaker, thanks very much for being with us.

Mr. HACHIM AL-HASANI (Iraqi National Assembly): Thank you for having me with you.

SIMON: And what's the scene like in Baghdad today? Are people turning up at polling stations?

Mr. AL-HASANI: Things look very good. You know, a lot of people are going to their polls to vote on this constitution. I'm hoping the results will be positive.

SIMON: Hmm, so you--it sounds like you plan to vote for the constitution.

Mr. AL-HASANI: Yes, I'll be voting for the constitution, especially after all we have done, very good amendments, you know, on the draft of the constitution and that pleased a lot of people and gave them the chance to come in the next of--house of representatives to put their input in this constitution.

SIMON: Last month, you had reservations about the constitution. What changed over the past couple of weeks that makes you now support it?

Mr. AL-HASANI: For me, it was just one important amendment that made me change my mind which gave the, you know, the next national house of representative the authority to introduce new amendments to this constitution. And I'm hoping that the next election results will be totally different than what we had right now. What I mean by that, that all the layers of Iraqi society will participate in the election so they will have this chance, and everybody will have the chance to introduce what they want to introduce to their constitution. That given--made me to change my mind and vote with a strong yes for this constitution.

SIMON: Hmm. Do you expect a heavy turnout among Iraqi Sunnis and might many of them support the constitution?

Mr. AL-HASANI: Well, I was talking to a lot of people last night, and it looks like, you know, we gonna have a heavy turnout. But I want, you know, to get a good margin of them saying yes of the draft of the constitution.

SIMON: Can you tell us what it will mean for you in Iraq to have a constitution, this one or another one when it finally passes?

Mr. AL-HASANI: To me, it means that the Iraqi individual, every single individual--they're gonna have their own rights. They're gonna be treated equally, I mean, just wait. If it passes and political process continues, I think we can bring more stability to Iraq. You know, stability is good for Iraq, it's good for Iraq's people, it's good for the world.

SIMON: When would you like to see the United States leave?

Mr. AL-HASANI: This is a partnership between us and the United States and free world. So it isn't an Iraqi issue. It is an issue that relates to the United States, to Britain, to the free world. We are all in this one together, and I think if we can make a lot of progress after next election, to accelerate building the Iraqi forces so we can ask our friends to leave after that.

SIMON: Hachim al-Hasani, speaker of the Iraqi National Assembly, thanks very much.

Mr. AL-HASANI: Thank you very much.

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