Liberal, leftist forces unite to defeat 'unrepresentative' constitution

Ahram Online, Thursday 27 Sep 2012

The new 'Egyptian Patriotism' alliance agrees to collectively withdraw from Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly, aims to draft an alternative constitution

Hamdeen Sabahi during the launch of Popular Current on 22 September 2012.(Photo: Mai Shaheen)

Egypt's liberal and leftist political forces announced they were uniting under a super alliance entitled "Egyptian Patriotism," uniting three recently formed liberal coalitions, in order to effectively put pressure on the Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly at a meeting Wednesday.  

The key players, who met at the home of the head of the Constituent Assembly's Political Committee Ahmed Boraie, include eliminated presidential candidates Hamdeen Sabbabi and Amr Moussa, Socialist Popular Alliance Party leader Abdel-Ghaffar Shokr, Wafd Party leader El-Sayed El-Badawi and members of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party. 

Ghad Al-Thawra Party head Ayman Nour and Free Egyptians head Ahmed Said also attended.  

The non-Islamist coalition agreed to collectively withdraw from the constitution-drafting committee by the beginning of October, on the grounds that it continued to be "unrepresentative of Egyptian society."  

The incumbent assembly has witnessed mass walkouts since its inauguration in June, leaving a largely Islamist membership to continue drafting the national charter, adding to accusations that the constitution will only serve Islamists' interests.

Following the meeting, prominent activist and Egyptian Patriotism member George Ishaq told independent channel ONTV that the coalition "will draft an alternative constitution."

During Wednesday's inaugural meeting, the Egyptian Patriotism coalition also agreed to start nationwide protests next Saturday. Coalition members are expected to meet again on Friday to discuss matters further.

The membership of Egyptian Patriotism will unite three liberal coalitions launched within the next week. Sabbahi established the Popular Current on Saturday, a coalition of politicians, intellectuals, religious leaders and families of those killed during the 2011 uprising. Amr Moussa launched the Egyptian Conference Party, an umbrella group of 25 political parties, last Tuesday. The Democratic Revolutionary Coalition, which Adel-Ghafar Shokr is member of, was inaugurated last Thursday uniting 10 Leftists parties.

Mohamed ElBaradei's Constitution Party was notably not present at the meeting despite media outlets claiming the contrary. On Thursday, the party clarified its position on its official Facebook page affirming "the party is not part of any coalition."

Egyptian Patriotism members are expected to meet on Friday to finalise the coalition's upcoming plans.

Short link: