Something I have not seen addressed, though I have dicussed with some political science friends, is just how odd the referendum held this past weekend was.
The ratification requirement was a simple majority nationwide, provided that three or more provinces did not generate 2/3 no votes.
As some readers are no doubt aware, I know a little bit about constitutions. And I have never seen anything like this.
There are several constitutions that require some form of concurrent majority or other minority-veto provisions for constitutional amendments to pass via referendum. For instance, in Australia and Switzerland, constitutional referenda require a simple majority nationally and also majorities in a majority of the states/cantons. (Source: Arend Lijphart, Patterns of Democracy, p. 222.) The recent British Columbia referendum to adopt electoral reform required 60% provincewide and majorities in 60% of the provincial electoral districts (ridings).
Mechanisms of this sort ensure that a nationwide (provincewide) majority does not enact a major institutional change against the wishes of a concentrated minority.
The Iraqi ratification referendum required not simply majority disapproval in some specified number of regional subdivisions, but super-majority disapproval in specific regions.
Had this been an innovation of Iraq’s constitutional drafting commission I would write it off as just one of many efforts to ram through a constitution approved by a majority against an important minority (a category that includes not just many of the substantive provisions of the constitution, but also the short-lived attempt to make it 2/3 of registered voters instead of 2/3 of votes cast). However, this provision was one of many safeguards for minorities in the Transitional Administrative Act (and actually was left out of the constitution’s own ratification clause in what could have been a largely unnoticed effort to circumvent the TAL). The TAL was bequeathed by the Coalition Provisional Authority, i.e. the US-led occupation. Where they got this crazy provision is beyond me.