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Tantawi wants new constitution drafted before SCAF hands power on 30 June

Ruling SCAF meets with advisory council to discuss new criteria for choosing constituent assembly, and with party reps to discuss latest developments regarding looming presidential race

Ahram Online, Sunday 15 Apr 2012
SCAF
File photo: Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi (4th L), the head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), and chief of staff of the Egyptian armed forces Sami Anan (Photo: Reuters)
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Head of Egypt's ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi on Sunday met with members of the SCAF's advisory council, headed by lawyers syndicate chief Sameh Ashour, to discuss recent political developments. In another meeting held the same day, Tantawi also met with the representatives of various political parties.

Members of the SCAF's advisory council who attended the meeting included Abdel Aziz Hegazy, Ahmed Kamal Abul Magd, Naguib Sawiris, Ashraf Abdel Ghafour, Mohamed Borhan, Essam El-Nezamy, Sherif Zahran, Mona Makram Ebeid, Mohamed Barghesh and Hanna Greis.

At the meeting, the advisory council proposed drafting a new constitutional declaration including new criteria for choosing members of the constituent assembly, tasked with writing a new constitution, which better represents all segments of Egyptian society. Meeting attendees also discussed parliament's recently passed Disenfranchisement Law.

Parliament is currently waiting on the SCAF to ratify the law, which aims to ban members of the ousted Mubarak regime from participating in Egyptian political life for a ten-year period.

Other political developments discussed at the meeting included recent resignations from the constituent assembly amid complaints that the constitution-drafting process was being dominated by Islamist figures.

The head of the ruling military council told the meeting that he wants to see a new constitution drafted before the SCAF hands over power to a civilian administration at the end of June, according to MENA news agency.

On the same day, SCAF members also met with party representatives, including those from the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the liberal Wafd Party, along with several political figures and MPs such as Ayman Nour, Mostafa Bakry, Yasser El-Qady, Marian Malak and Mohamed Abdel Moneim El-Sawy.

The meeting with party representatives comes after the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission disqualified ten candidates on Saturday from Egypt’s upcoming presidential elections, including Salafist Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail, ex-intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and the Muslim Brotherhood's Khairat El-Shater.

In a statement released by attending representatives of parties after the meeting, Sayed El-Badawy, head of the liberal Wafd party, said an emergency meeting will be held involving the chiefs of all the parliament’s political parties and independent MPs to agree on a new format to choose the constituent assembly.

Another meeting between the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), the parties’ heads and the speakers of both the upper and lower houses will follow next week to kick-start the process of electing the assembly members.

According to El-Badawy, all parties which are represented in the parliament were present in Sunday’s meeting, except Tagammu Party and the Egyptian Social Democratic Party.

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