Political groups launch 'Constitution for All Egyptians Front'

Ahram Online, Monday 26 Mar 2012

Non-Islamist political forces launch 'Constitution for All Egyptians Front' to protest Islamist domination of constituent assembly tasked with drafting Egypt's new constitution

Freedom and Justice party
A protester holds up a placard displaying the logos of Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party (L) and ousted president Hosni Mubarak's defunct National Democratic Party (NDP) during a rally against the formation of a constituent assembly tasked with drafting a new constitution outside the Cairo convention centre (Photo: Reuters)

Fifteen political groups and movements – including the Free Egyptians, the Democratic Front and the Tagammu parties – announced the establishment on Monday of the "Constitution for All Egyptians Front," which seeks to "defend Egyptians' right to draft a national constitution granting them their basic rights to freedom, dignity and social equality."

Front members demand that Egypt's new constitution be representative of all segments of Egyptian society. They reject the notion of a single political current being put in charge of drafting a new national charter.

They have announced their intention to stage a rally before the State Council in Cairo’s Dokki district at 10am Tuesday to show their support for the initiative. They also plan to voice support for a lawsuit calling for the nullification of the parliamentary decision to form a constituent assembly tasked with drafting a new constitution.

In several recent protests, liberal and leftist groups have voiced dissatisfaction with what they describe as Islamist dominance over the constituent assembly.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafist Nour Party together control a majority of both the Shura Council and the People’s Assembly (the upper and lower houses of Egypt's parliament).

The "Constitution for All Egyptians Front" includes the following groups under its umbrella: The National Commission for Change; the Front for Egyptian Innovation; the Egyptian Communist Party; the Popular Socialist Alliance Party; the Youth Coalition Association; the National Centre for Popular Committees; the Egyptian Socialist Party; the National Coalition for Fighting Corruption; Egyptian Women with the Revolution; the Union of Independent Labour Syndicates; the Union of Egyptian Farmers; and the Renaissance Current for Culture and Media.

The front has called on other political forces to join it in "the struggle to protect the civic Egyptian state through a constitution drafted by the people to guarantee the balance of the executive, legislative and judicial authorities."

On Sunday, the final list of members of the 100-member constituent assembly was announced amid considerable controversy.

Some 65 per cent of assembly members are Islamists, including 50 members from the Brotherhood and Salafist parties. The assembly also includes six women and six Christians.

On Saturday, several liberal members announced their withdrawal from the assembly to protest the large proportion of Islamists. These included MP Amr Hamzawy , MP Ziad Bahaa El-Din and political activist Ahmed Harara.

There have been several calls from leftist and liberal political forces to lodge an appeal with Egypt's State Council – the legal body tasked with deciding disputes related to the exercise of state power – to declare the policy of drawing half of the constituent assembly's members from among parliamentarians as unconstitutional.

The first meeting of the constituent assembly is scheduled for Wednesday.

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