Egypt’s constituent assembly chairman Hossam El-Gheriany, under fire from liberal politicians, said he endorses president Mohamed Morsi’s constitutional decree because "it would give the assembly more time to finish its daunting task of writing the country’s new constitution."
Morsi infuriated many pro-democracy activists and secular-minded politicians after issuing a controversial decree that protects the Islamist-dominated constituent assembly from dissolution.
The decree also gave the assembly, which is plagued by walkouts from liberal members and Christian delegates among others, two more months to complete its work. It was initially due to complete the drafting process early next month.
“The new constitutional declaration would give us sufficient time to finish the constitution,” El-Gheriany said during an assembly session on Sunday.
“I’m calling on the members who withdrew to return back to the assembly and take part in the honourable process of writing the constitution.
“Time is not in our favour, we should not prolong the process,” he added.