Political forces sign on ElBaradei call for Constituent Assembly boycott

Ahram Online, Saturday 29 Sep 2012

A number of liberal and leftist figures and movements embrace calls by Hamdeen Sabbahi and Mohamed ElBaradei to boycott the body drafting Egypt's new constitution

A number of political figures and movements have embraced calls by Nasserist Hamdeen Sabbahi and reform campaigner Mohamed ElBaradei to boycott the Constituent Assembly drafting Egypt's new constitution in protest against its alleged incompetency.

Sabbahi and ElBaradei issued a statement Saturday calling for the boycott, urging current assembly members affiliated to national forces to withdraw in disapproval at its current formation.

The statement was signed Sabbahi, ElBaradei, Mohamed Ghonim, coordinator of the Popular Current, liberal figure Amr Hamzawi, the Nasserist Party, the Karama Party, the Constitution Party, the Egyptian Democratic Party, the Socialist Popular Alliance, the Free Egyptian Party, the pro-democracy Kefaya Movement, the Egyptian Socialist Party, and the Revolutionary Democratic Coalition.

The statement was also signed by journalist Abdel-Halim Kandil, Kefaya activist George Ishak, talk show host Hussein Abdel-Ghani, scriptwriter Mohamed El-Adl, filmmaker Khaled Yousef, Hana Gerguis, and General Mohamed Youssef, among others.

The current assembly suffers "the absence of a basic understanding of things that concern the Egyptian citizen, such as basic freedom, economic and social rights," read the statement, criticising what has emerged so far from the constitution drafting process.

Some articles have been deemed to conflict with international charters, according to the statement.

The statement went on to blame President Mohamed Morsi for failing in his responsibility to form a balanced Constituent Assembly representative of all Egyptians, and failure to "ban any party's hegemony" over the constitution drafting process.

Egypt's beleaguered Constituent Assembly suffered a number of withdrawals since mid-June, when the Egyptian Bloc parties — including the Free Egyptians, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party and the leftist Tagammu Party — initiated a mass walk-out, which was followed by the Karama Party, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party and the Democratic Front Party.

Their stated reason for resigning from the assembly was to allow greater representation for women, young people and Coptic Christians, while also registering their objection at perceived "Islamist monopolisation" of the constitution-drafting body.

The troubled assembly still faces the risk of dissolution by court order on grounds that it was drawn up by the subsequently dissolved People's Assembly, the lower house of Egypt's parliament.

In October, Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court is set to rule on the assembly's constitutionality. 

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