Morsi in a speech in October, 2012 (Photo: Snapshot State tv)
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has reached agreement with heads of political parties on some 90 percent of the contents of Egypt's draft constitution, presidential spokesman Yasser Ali announced at a Sunday press conference at the presidential palace in Cairo.
The conference followed a meeting held earlier the same day between Morsi and the heads of prominent Egyptian political parties held to discuss means of resolving Egypt's ongoing constitutional deadlock.
The meeting was attended by Al-Sayed Badawi, head of the liberal Wafd Party; Ayman Nour, head of Ghad Al-Thawra Party; Mohamed Abul-Ghar, head of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party; Ahmed Saeed, head of the liberal Free Egyptians party; Nasr Abdel-Salam, head of the Islamist Building and Development Party; Abu Ela Madi, head of the moderate-Islamist Wasat Party; Ahmed Boraei, deputy head of the newly-established Constitution Party; and Farid Ismail, member of the executive committee of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party.Along with the president, a number of Morsi's presidential advisors also attended the meeting.
Discussions reportedly revolved around draft constitutional articles related to the issue of Islamic Law – namely articles 2 and 221 – along with issues related to women's rights and child labour.
According to Ali, the presidency has not intervened in the work of Egypt's Constituent Assembly, tasked with drafting the new constitution.
The spokesman added that there had been suggestions by some meeting attendees to raise the percentage of votes needed inside the Constituent Assembly to approve proposed constitutional articles beyond the current 57 per cent, as well as the percentage of votes needed for the charter's approval in an upcoming national referendum.
In a surprising turn, Ali went on to assert that there had been suggestions "for President Morsi to use his legislative and legal authorities…to extend the Constituent Assembly's mandate beyond December."
He added, however, that, "There is no intention to take this step right now and all efforts are currently being directed at reaching consensus within the assembly."
Ali added that a meeting would be held next week with the same political personalities to further discuss outstanding issues related to the constitution.
An invitation to meet with Morsi to discuss constitutional issues has also reportedly been sent to reform campaigner Mohamed ElBaradei, founder of Egypt's new Constitution Party, following the latter's return from Brazil.