Islamist monopoly led to lacklustre draft constitution: 6 April leader

Ahram Online, Wednesday 24 Oct 2012

Ahmed Maher criticises the recently published draft constitution for being vague, clearing the way for 'authoritarianism'

Ahmed Maher
Ahmed Maher, co-founder of the April six Youth Movement, Ahmed Maher (Video snapshot)

Co-founder of the 6 April Youth Movement and member of the Constituent Assembly Ahmed Maher announced Wednesday that representatives of non-Islamist forces inside the assembly could stage a mass walkout if the assembly does not revise the current draft constitution taking into consideration the feedback it received from these groups.

In a news conference Wednesday, the youth group leader said that unequal representation and the domination of the Islamist current in the assembly led to a generic draft constitution due to the lack of elaborate and specific discussion.

The movement criticised Article 145 of the current draft that pertains to the president's powers and Cabinet formation. The group deemed the article indecipherable in failing to specify the process of choosing a government or its jurisdiction.

Article 145 has met with similar criticism from other political groups who argue its ambiguity opens the way for authoritarianism, adding it must be revised to be made clear. 

Apart from this demand, non-Islamist groups are calling for nine other modifications to made to the current draft — mostly demanding a more precise phrasing of certain articles. One such modification is to clearly state the prohibition on establishing political parties on religious grounds. Another modification is to add the sentence, "It is not allowed to physically or mentally torture either by actions or words" to the article that states "Human dignity is a right for every human."

The 6 April Youth Movement also demands the addition of a separate article that bans discrimination between citizens on the basis of gender, religion, or origin, which is currently part of Article 2 in the rights and freedoms section.

The draft constitution, released 10 October, was criticised by most centrist and liberal parties. Some of these parties have been objecting to the makeup of the Constituent Assembly and demanding the formation of a new body with more balance between Islamist and non-Islamist parties.

The Constituent Assembly still faces the risk of dissolution pending a verdict by the Supreme Constitutional Court on the constitutionality of its current composition.

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