Constituent assembly (Photo: Al-Ahram)
The National Association for Change (NAC) reform movement released a statement on Wednesday urging Egypt's Constituent Assembly to halt work drafting a new constitution until the High Constitutional Court (HCC) issues its verdict regarding the constitutionality of the law according to which assembly members were chosen.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) referred a lawsuit filed against the Islamist-led Constituent Assembly to the HCC. Although the move has put the assembly's future in doubt, it has also given it time to complete the constitutional drafting process before a final verdict on its legitimacy is delivered.
The NAC statement warned that the way the constitution was now being drafted will only serve to produce a "deformed" national charter that does not reflect Egypt's social diversity, popular aspirations or the goals of the January 25 Revolution.
The NAC argued that the law in question – according to which Constituent Assembly members were selected – clearly violates the constitution. The now-dissolved lower house of parliament, which issued the law, made the assembly immune from appeal, preventing the SAC from issuing a verdict in the case. This, the NAC asserted, constitutes a misuse of legislative authority.
The NAC went on to demand that the president keep his promise to reform the Constituent Assembly, noting President Mohamed Morsi's earlier vow to draw up a more representative constitution-drafting body.
"If he doesn't keep the promise he made to several political parties, it will further affect his image as 'president for all Egyptians,' especially after he failed to respond to the Brotherhood's violent attack against protesters on 12 October," the statement asserted.
The NAC strongly upholds the demands of the 12 October protests, which include a representative constitution, social justice and retribution for the killing of demonstrators.
The demonstrations referred to in the statement were held in Cairo's Tahrir Square earlier this month. Dubbed "Accountability Friday," the protests – held to voice dissatisfaction with Morsi's first hundred days in office – quickly devolved into violent clashes between the president's supporters and critics that left hundreds injured.
Following the SAC decision to refer the case to the HCC on Tuesday, Several other groups released statements condemning the assembly – which will now have time to complete the draft charter – and proposed constitutional articles.