Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, the chief of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) said on Friday that the new constitution also must be ratified through a nationwide referendum.

"The drafting of a permanent constitution for the country must be done by a panel elected by the Iraqi people," al Hakim said at a mourning ceremony for his brother, Ayatollah Muhammad Baqer al-Hakim, killed last month.

"It must be ratified through a nationwide referendum," Hakim told a crowd of 10,000 people who had gathered to mourn the slain cleric.

Draft Opposed

SCIRI has meanwhile criticized the new US draft resolution on Iraq since it gave no deadline for a withdrawal of coalition forces from the country.

Reda Jawad Taqi, a SCIRI representative said the draft was "weak" because it does not include a deadline and a timetable for the withdrawal of coalition forces.

One of Iraq's key Shia political parties, SCIRI also demanded a "timetable for the transfer of power from the US forces and the occupation administration led by Paul Bremer to the Iraqi people."