Egypt Constitution Party's Shukrallah questions army's involvement with politics

Ahram Online, Tuesday 25 Feb 2014

Newly-appointed Constitution Party leader Hala Shukrallah says we must question how army's role will affect democratic process

Hala Shukrallah
Hala Shukrallah, a 59-year-old Coptic Christian, who is the first woman elected to head an Egyptian political party speaks to The Associated Press during an interview in her house in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 (Photo: AP)

Hala Shukrallah, the first woman and Coptic Christian to head a political party in Egypt, has said that while her Constitution Party acknowledges the army's role in the removal of former president Mohamed Morsi, the party has "not pledged [unconditional] allegiance to the military."

Shukrallah's comments were delivered on Tuesday in her first press conference since she was appointed the head of the Constitution Party last Friday. She succeeds as party head renowned politician and Nobel Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, who founded the party in 2012.

"We want to preserve the Egyptian army as a protector of the nation, especially that it is threatened from different borders such as Libya and Sinai," said Shukrallah.

But that's where the army's role stops, she implied.

"If we appreciate the democratic process, then we must question the implications of the involvement of the military institute in the political sphere, and how it will affect the mechanisms of democracy," Shukrallah said.

In recent months, many supporters of defence minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi have been calling for him to run for Egypt's presidency, a move critics say would be tantamount to military interference in politics.

Last January, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) announced that it had approved of El-Sisi's possible candidacy, calling his entering of politics a "mandate and a duty."

While media rumours have swirled in recent weeks over his apparent candidacy, El-Sisi has not yet officially confirmed his stance.

Egypt's upcoming presidential polls are expected to take place between March and April.

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