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Supra-constitutional principles enrage political forces in Egypt

By endowing the military council with the power to interfere in the drafting of a new constitution, the constitutional document released yesterday is rejected by an array of political groups

Ahram Online, Wednesday 2 Nov 2011
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The draft for supra-constitutional principles released yesterday by the Egyptian government has stirred the wrath of many of the country’s political forces.

The principles were announced at the end of a meeting yesterday attended by some 500 political figures. The attendees gathered to discuss the supra-constitutional principles and compile the requisite criteria for choosing members of the constituent assembly who will be tasked with drafting the country’s new constitution. The meeting was chaired by Ali El-Selmy, Egypt’s deputy prime minister.

The anger over the draft document centres on the fact that it gives the armed forces exceptional powers, including the right to interfere in both the process of drafting the new constitution and determining the role the constituent assembly will play in putting it together. It also gives the military council the right to draw up a new constituent assembly if the one chosen by the new parliament fails to draft a constitution within six months.

The draft was slammed by a slew of political forces, including possible presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei, the “We Are All Khaled Said” revolutionary group, the April 6 Youth Movement, the liberal Al Adl Party and the Islamist Al Wasat Party. The meeting was also boycotted by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), Al Jamaa Al Islamiya and the Salafist Al Nour Party.

However, several long-established political parties, including the liberal Wafd Party and the leftist Tagammu Party, gave the draft principles their approval.

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