Egypt's Consensus Conference wants military to guarantee secular character of the State

Ahram Online, Sunday 19 Jun 2011

Meetings between Egypt’s interim government and political leaders concludes that a constitutional article granting the military the power to enforce the secular character of Egypt’s state institutions

Egypt’s National Consensus agreed in their meeting Sunday that the new constitution should include an article that gives the armed forces the role of protecting Egypt’s civil institutions, regardless of the affiliation of the majority of the parliament (i.e. based on religion or other).

The decision came from the consensus’s Armed Forces and Investments and Monitoring Committee during their meeting today in the parliament building. The National Consensus is a conference led by the deputy prime minister, Yeyha El-Gamal, to discuss Egypt's interim period with political analysts, leaders and other interested parties.

The former social affairs minister, Mervat El Telawy, explained that this article would prevent Islamists, such as the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) or Salafists from adopting measures that would transform Egypt into a theocracy if they won a majority in the parliamentary elections set for September.

Several members of the National Consensus emphasised the need to draft the constitution before the elections to give nascent political forces time to gain momentum in the street, otherwise parliament will be dominated by old faces.

Samy Hegazy, a member of the committee added that today only three political parties have been established: the Free Egyptians Party, the Salafist El Nour Party and the MB's Freedom and Justice Party. The fact that there are so few official parties necessitates postponing the elections to give new parties the chance to become established, organise and campaign.

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