Co-founder of April 6 to remain on Constituent Assembly

Ahram Online, Wednesday 3 Oct 2012

Youth activist Ahmed Maher expresses hope that assembly will reach agreement on constitution despite ongoing disputes with conservative Islamists

Ahmed Maher Co-founder of the April six Youth Movement (Photo: Al-Ahram)

April 6 Youth Movement co-founder Ahmed Maher stated on Tuesday that he had no intention of withdrawing from Egypt’s Constituent Assembly as there was still hope for agreement.

“Disagreements have been on the rise over the past two weeks due to the views expressed by some Islamists and their insistence on applying Islamic law,” Maher said.

Maher added that he had considered withdrawing from the assembly but had chosen to postpone the decision until “all has failed and there is no hope of harmony.”

In early September, Nasserist presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi and Constitution Party leader Mohamed ElBaradei and others called for a boycott of the assembly, stating that it was dominated by Islamists. The call was answered by some political figures and movements.

However, on 29 September four liberals who had earlier withdrawn from the assembly returned to push for “a more balanced constitution.”

Maher described their return to the assembly as a positive step.

Egypt's beleaguered Constituent Assembly has already suffered a number of withdrawals since mid-June, when the 'Egyptian Bloc' parties – including the Free Egyptians, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party and the leftist Tagammu Party – initiated a mass walk-out, which was followed by the Karama Party, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party and the Democratic Front Party.

Their stated reason for resigning from the assembly was to allow greater representation for women, young people and Coptic Christians, while also registering their objection to perceived "Islamist monopolisation" of the constitution-writing committee.

The troubled assembly still faces the risk of dissolution by court order on grounds that it was drawn up by the People's Assembly, the since-dissolved lower house of Egypt's parliament.

In October, Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court is set to rule on the assembly's constitutionality, or lack thereof.

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