Egypt chief Tantawi to discuss constitution crisis with political leaders

Al Ahram Online, Yasmine Wali, Tuesday 27 Mar 2012

SCAF head to meet senior politicians Tuesday to discuss withdrawal of liberals from assembly tasked with drafting constitution in protest at 'unfair' distribution of seats to Islamists; Brotherhood waits to see results

Marshall Tantawi Large
Egypt's military leader Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, Head of Supreme Council for Armed Forces (SCAF)

Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), is to meet the heads of all political parties represented in parliament and various other political figures on Tuesday to discuss the withdrawal of members from the constituent assembly tasked with drafting Egypt's new constitution.

Within the last 48 hours, a number of liberals and leftists have withdrawn from the assembly in protest at what they see as the unfair distribution of assembly seats to those of Islamist orientations, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists, and the underrepresentation of Christians, women, peasants and workers.

According to the state-owned Al-Akhbar newspaper, on the table will be the unfolding crisis between the government and parliament, presidential election procedures and article 28 of constitutional declaration issued by the SCAF in March 2011 which does not allow appeals against decisions of the Presidential Elections Commission.

Meanwhile, Abdel Gaffar Shukr, official spokesperson of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, said that his leftwing group had rejected the SCAF's invitationto attend the meeting.

At a press conference organised on Tuesday by those who had resigned from the constituent assembly, Shukr held the SCAF responsible for the country's woes in the transitional period, and said ordinary people should take the lead in solving the country's problems.

The leaderships of the Muslim Brotherhood and its political wing the Freedom and Justice Party will hold separate meetings Tuesday evening to discuss presidential candidates and the constituent assembly. The meetings were scheduled for Tuesday morning but were postponed until after the meeting with Tantawi.


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