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Coalition Provisional Authority
Press Release 
April 26, 2004

Contact: Mike Hardiman
Baghdad Central 914-360-6864

Transitional Administrative Law “Town Hall” Meeting Successful

A public forum on Iraq’s Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) was held yesterday in Baghdad, the latest in a well attended series of meetings here and across the nation.

Over 150 Baghdad residents from all districts of the city and all ethnic and religious groups were present along with three members of the Governing Council, who organized the event jointly with CPA's Baghdad Central office. Two dozen journalists from Baghdad’s burgeoning local press corps joined in as well as representatives from international media outlets.

Dozens of citizens actively questioned Governing Council members Dr. Mahmoud Othman, Ezzedine Salim, and Ahmed al-Barak on individual rights, federalism, civil rights and liberties, the current security situation, equal protection under law and the process for creating a permanent government.

Debate was vigorous but cordial and marked by knowledgeable and thoughtful queries.

“Democracy means the rule of the majority, however it also includes respect for the minority,” said Governing Council member Ahmed al-Barak. He was responding to a question regarding a TAL provision which has been interpreted by some Iraqis to provide the three Kurdish Governorates with a veto power in the referendum of the permanent constitution.

“We are abandoning the heritage of the former regime, and moving forward to elections. This is a great mission, to bring the rule of law and sovereignty to Iraq,” said Council Member Dr. Mahmoud Othman in his opening statement.

One member of the audience asked if Iraq would retain its identity as an Arab nation under a democracy. Council Member Ezzedine Salim responded, “Iraq is a member of the Arab League, but all are represented here now, including Turkmen, Kurds and Christians for example. Iraq is full of diversity.”

The next Town Hall meeting in Baghdad will be held on May 15 and will focus on the makeup of the interim Iraqi government as well as the Iraqi National Assembly and the electoral system.

Governing Council Member Panelists:

Ahmed al-Barak is the head of the union of lawyers and human rights league in the central city of Babylon.

Dr. Mahmoud Othman held various posts in the Kurdistan Democratic Party in the 1960s before moving to London. There he founded the Kurdish Socialist Party.

Ezzedine Salim is the head of the Daawa Islamic Party, and is based in Basra.

If you have any questions, please email Mike Hardiman at:

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