Former presidential rivals press Morsi on Constitution, social justice

Ahram Online, Saturday 3 Nov 2012

President Morsi today met with former Egyptian presidential candidates to hear their viewpoints on the proposed constitution and other key domestic issues

Morsi and rivals discuss constitution
Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi (R) meets with former presidential candidate and former Arab League chief Amr Moussa at the presidential palace in Cairo November 3, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)

President Mohamed Morsi's meetings Saturday with the main three former presidential candidates, Amr Moussa, Hamdeen Sabbahi and Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh, held in an effort to kickstart a national dialogue between varied political forces, mainly revolved around the newly proposed constitution, the revolution's demands, and the need to reach consensus during the transition period.

Former presidential candidate Moussa, head of the Conference Party, for his part underlined to Morsi the importance of drafting a "proper" constitution, arguing that time is not the most important factor to consider, but rather the people's acceptance of the result.

Moussa requested during the meeting that sufficient time be given for people to discuss the new draft constitution, also proposing that the Constituent Assembly hold another meeting to discuss recent suggestions on the draft coming in from across the political spectrum.

Morsi understood the suggestion to change the voting system within the Constituent Assembly to be by the approval of 57 of its members, asserted Moussa to the press following the meeting, adding that the president agreed that consensus over the decision making process within the assembly was important.

During the meeting with Nasserist founder of the Egyptian Popular Current Sabbahi, several issues now occupying the minds of Egyptians were tackled, including the constitution, according to presidency spokesperson Yasser Ali.

Sabbahi for his part proposed that a national conference on social justice be held, in addition to sharing his suggestions regarding ways of resolving complications within the Constituent Assembly.

According to Al-Ahram Arabic news website, Sabbahi discussed with the president the necessity of reshaping the Constituent Assembly in a way to make it more representative.

The assembly, charged with drafting Egypt's new permanent constitution, has been subject to waves of criticism from a number of political forces, accusing it of failing to draft a constitution representative of all Egyptians due to Islamist hegemony within the body.

The meeting attended by Sabbahi also discussed the need for retribution for the revolution's martyrs, said Ali.

Another meeting was held with liberal Islamist and founder of the Strong Egypt Party, Abul-Fotouh, who introduced his party's vision on the constitution and means to fight corruption within the state.

Abul-Fotouh stressed to Morsi the importance of reaching consensus in the Constituent Assembly suggesting that articles creating the disagreement within the assembly should all be reconsidered as well as those that infringe upon the rights of Egyptian citizens.

The former presidential candidate called on Morsi to heed the demands of medical doctors, who have been on strike for almost a month, and argued that they should be granted better working conditions to improve the country's health care system.

Sabbahi, Abul-Fotouh and Moussa came in third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the presidential elections concluded in June, where Morsi narrowly beat Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister of ousted former president Hosni Mubarak.

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