The U.S.-backed Iraqi Governing Council today approved an interim constitution that is intended to set a foundation for a permanent constitution and democratic self-rule.

The signing had originally been planned for Friday, but key Shiite Muslim groups backed out at the last minute citing several concerns. After weekend meetings, all 25 members of the Governing Council agreed to the document unchanged and signed it today.

The interim constitution will not go into effect until approved by Paul Bremer, the top U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq.