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Nour Party campaigning across Egypt in support of new constitution

Salafist party is lobbying for a yes vote in the January referendum on the draft constitution

Ahram Online, Saturday 28 Dec 2013
-Nour Party
Salafist Al-Nour Party chairman Younis Makhioun (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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The Salafist Nour Party has been using its members to campaign for a yes vote in the upcoming constitutional referendum, according to a senior member.

Mohamed Ibrahim Mansour, Nour's representative on the committee that drafted the new constitution, told Al-Ahram's Arabic website that the group's members underwent training sessions to equip them to answer questions on the constitution.

He also said the members will be able to assure citizens that the constitution does not threaten Egypt's Islamic identity.

According to Mansour, the Nour Party has organised a minimum of five seminars daily nationwide as part of its campaign for a yes vote, and is rallying members across all governorates of the country.

The issue of the place of sharia law in Egypt's constitution has long been contentious. The previous constitution was drafted in 2012 under the presidency of Islamist Mohamed Morsi, and suspended after his ouster in July of this year.

The new draft, completed in December, maintains the original phrasing of Article 2, the essential text that cites that sharia law is the main source of Egyptian legislation.

However, the mostly non-Islamist members of the committee have eliminated and modified the most controversial articles and text phrasings pertaining to sharia which were added by the 2012 assembly, and which were criticised at the time by many non-Islamist political figures.

Most notably, the new draft has jettisoned Article 219, which had defined the aspects of sharia on which legislation will be based.

The Salafist Front, one of the largest Salafist associations in the Middle East and a member of the pro-Morsi National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, released a statement earlier in the month saying that they will boycott the referendum, as they see the draft constitution as not representative of the will of Egyptians.

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