File Photo: Egyptian parliament (Reuters)
Egypt’s Congress Party – founded by former foreign minister Amr Moussa and currently led by Omar Simida – announced on Thursday that they support new amendments to the constitution proposed by 155 MPs.
The proposed amendments were approved in principle by parliament's general committee in a meeting on Tuesday morning and are expected to be voted on in principle on 17 February in a plenary meeting.
If MPs vote yes, the proposed amendments would be referred to parliament's legislative and constitutional affairs committee to be discussed in detail in a series of hearing sessions.
The Congress Party said in a statement that after reviewing and studying the proposed constitutional amendments, the party has decided to declare its support for them in principle.
"The party also intends to actively participate in all expected national dialogue meetings on the amendments to ensure that they gain national consensus," the statement said.
The People's Republican Party, led by engineer Hazem Omar, has also announced that it has decided to approve the proposed constitutional amendments in principle.
"Egypt's 2014 constitution, which is currently in effect, has a lot of flawed articles such as the one on the election of local councils, and this is the right time to change them," a statement said, adding that "the party will actively participate in all meetings to be held by parliament's legislative and constitutional affairs committee on the amendments."
Meanwhile, two leading members of the Conservatives Party have also said that they support the proposed constitutional amendments.
This announcement is not in line with the official position of the party, which announced on Wednesday that it decided to join the camp that rejected the amendments.
The two members are Hala Abul-Saad, the parliamentary spokesperson of the Conservatives Party, and Ihab El-Khouli, the Conservatives Party MP for Giza governorate.
Abul-Saad said the amendments come at the right time to reflect the recent political developments in Egypt.
"The amendments are logical and come to reinforce Egypt's stability in the long run," Abul-Saad said.
El-Khouli said his support stems from the fact that the amendments do not negatively impact public freedoms and the rights enshrined in the 2014 constitution.
"I also reject all the calls which aim to tarnish the image of these amendments," El-Khouli said.
Within the same context, Nashwa El-Deeb from the Nasserist Party said she fully supports the proposed constitutional amendments.
"I see that they aim to strengthen the country's current stability and complete the country's march towards development and reconstruction," El-Deeb said, adding that "most of the current constitution's articles were drafted to serve an interim period only."
Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal said that the amendments have seven main aims: to boost parliamentary representation of women, Copts, Egyptians abroad, the youth and the physically challenged; to create an upper house to help widen participation in political and parliamentary life; to increase the length of the presidential term from four to six years; to bring back the post of vice president; to reform the judicial authorities; and to change the way the minister of defence is appointed.