Liberal Ayman Nour stays in constituent assembly for now

Ahram Online , Sunday 18 Nov 2012

Ayman Nour and his liberal Ghad Thawra party will not quit, give constituent assembly until Saturday to meet proposed reforms

Ayman Nour
Ayman Nour, chairman of el-Ghad political party (Photo: Reuters)

The liberal Ghad Al-Thawra Party headed by Ayman Nour stated on Sunday its members will not be withdrawing from the constitution drafting body, but will give the assembly a chance until Saturday to meet its proposed demands.

Thirty liberal constituent assembly members, including Nour, threatened on Thursday they will withdraw from the assembly within 48 hours if their proposals remain ignored by the Islamist majority. They called for the proposed timeline of the new constitution, which would see the document completed in two weeks, to be extended to three months. They also demanded that certain articles in the "State and Society" section be changed.  

Ahmed Maher of the April 6 movement declared his complete withdrawal Sunday. Maher said his decision was taken in agreement with other non-Islamist assembly members who had also threatened to withdraw two days earlier.

Nour's Ghad Al-Thawra party has however denied in a statement released also on Sunday its members will be withdrawing saying the party will hold a meeting next Saturday to take a final decision on its stand from the assembly.  

The liberal Wafd party and representatives of Egypt's churches have already declared their withdrawal on Saturday.

The assembly has already suffered a number of withdrawals since 11 June, when the 'Egyptian Bloc' parties – including the Free Egyptians, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party and the leftist Tagammu Party – initiated a walk-out, followed by the Karama Party, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party and the Democratic Front Party, to allow greater representation for women, young people and Coptic Christians, while also registering their objection to "Islamist monopolisation" of the assembly.

Meanwhile, the assembly is still facing the risk of dissolution by court order due to a case challenging the constitutionality of the law which set the criteria for choosing its members. The 100 assembly members were chosen by the now-dissolved parliament, which was ruled unconstitutional by the High Constitutional Court (HCC) in mid-June.  

On 23 October, the Supreme Administrative Court referred the lawsuit challenging the assembly's constitutionality to the HCC, which is yet to issue its verdict. It has been claimed that some assembly members are attempting to draft the constitution quickly and submit it for a national referendum before the court issues its verdict.

The first assembly was dissolved in April after a court ruling stated it was not representative of Egyptian society. The same criticism is being directed at the current constitution-drafting body. 

Short link: