SCAF to issue new constitutional declaration

Ahram Online, Thursday 17 May 2012

Brotherhood condemns ruling military junta's decision to issue new temporary constitution defining presidential powers before election scheduled for next week

referendum on constitutional
File photo: An Egyptian man fills in his ballot indicating "Yes" at a polling station during voting for a referendum on constitutional amendments at a polling station in Cairo March 19, 2011. (Photo: Reuters)

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is to issue a new constitutional declaration, or revive an amended version the 1971 constitution, specifying the new president's powers, before polls open Wednesday, according to a military source.

The move comes after the constituent assembly failed to draft a new constitution in time.

SCAF members discussed the move with political party representatives at a meeting Tuesday.

Farid Ismail, head of the Freedom and Justice Party's defence and national security committee, said his party opposed the move and would discuss alternatives with other political parties over the coming days.

Yusri Hammad, official spokesman of Salafist Nour Party, told Al-Shorouk that "the party supports the SCAF's decision to help us emerge from the current crisis."

Independent MP Wahid Abdel-Meguid said a meeting of political parties scheduled for Wednesday at the liberal Wafd Party's premises was cancelled because Wafd Party leader El-Sayed El-Badawi preferred to wait until the SCAF's new temporary constitution was officially published in the state-run Al-Gareeda Al-Rasmeya newspaper.

Egypt's first presidential elections after ouster of Hosni Mubarak will take place on 23/24 June.

Saad El-Katatni, speaker of People's Assembly, announced on Wednesday that all assembly activities would be temporarily suspended until 26 May, two days after Egypt's first post-Mubarak presidential polls.

Attempts by Egypt's political elites to proceed in the constitutional-drafting process have been beset with troubles from the start, the first assembly being disbanded.

Days after the formation of the first assembly, a mass walkout jeopardised the constitution-drafting body. Members from liberal and leftist parties, independent prominent figures and representatives of professional and trade unions as well as representatives of the Coptic Church and Egypt's main Islamic authority, Al-Azhar, all pulled out, citing disproportionate representation.

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