Iraq’s newly elected National Assembly (NA) will soon take up its major task—although hardly its only one—of drafting a permanent constitution. The task is to be completed in time to submit the draft constitution to a national plebiscite by October 15, 2005. Constitutions are rarely written during calm times. Countries rarely feel any pressure to redesign their basic institutions unless they are confronting crisis. There are some exceptions, of course—in fact, one of the major obstacles to the development of constitutionalism in the Arab world is that constitutions were written under conditions of insufficient turmoil.

 

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About the Author
Nathan Brown is a senior associate in the Democracy and the Rule of Law Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, on leave from his position as professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University. He is a distinguished scholar and author of four well-received books on Arab politics.