Egypt's 50-member constitution-amendment committee in session (Photo: Al-Ahram)
The Salafist Nour Party objects to an article in the draft constitution which defines equality between men and women, Salah Abdel-Maaboud said on Monday.
A 50-member committee is amending the constitution drafted by an Islamist-dominated constituent assembly in 2012, of which the Nour Party was a leading representative.
In a statement on Monday, Abdel-Maaboud said the subcommittee finalising articles on the basic elements of the state had agreed on ten out of 11 articles, but disagreed on the one related to gender equality.
Article 11 states: “The State is committed to achieving equality between women and men in all the rights stated in this constitution. The State is obliged to take the necessary measures to ensure the appropriate and balanced representation of women in parliaments and local units, as organised by the law, and enable them to reconcile the duties of family and work, and protect them from all forms of violence. The State is committed to providing special care for motherhood and childhood and women who are poorest and most in need."
However, Abdel-Maaboud said his party objected to the phrasing as it would open the door for a women’s quota in parliament, which it is against.
“We cannot have a quota for every marginalised group,” he remarked.
The party also believes women's rights defined in the article should be restricted by Sharia law. Although Article Two of the constitution names the principles of Sharia as the main source of legislation, he said, Nour demands it is also added to Article 11 defining women’s rights so these rights are in accordance with Sharia law.
The amendments are to be approved by interim Adly Mansour by 3 December, after which they will be submitted to a national refendum. As part of the roadmap established on 3 July with the ouster of Mohamed Morsi, the constitutional referendum is to be followed by parliamentary and then presidential elections.