Liberal players send 'Document of the Pledge' to Egypt's next president
Ahram Online, Friday 1 Jun 2012
liberal and left political forces release document outlining fundamentals of a new Egyptian civil and democratic state, plan to pressure candidates Morsi and Shafiq to endorse it before runoffs with no strings attached

Liberal, leftist political forces released the final version of the "document of the pledge" which is expected to ensure a civil state and protect the revolution, in a press conference at the lawyer's syndicate on Friday.

The document will be presented to both presidential runoff candidates Mohamed Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq for endorsement without any commitment by the forces which prepared it to support either candidate in case they signed on it.

The document demands that the contenders should announce the members of their presidential team, which must be made up of a number of vice presidents, before the presidential elections runoffs slated for 16/17 June.

The 22-article document was issued by the Nationalist Front, and prepared by public figures Mohamed Abul-Ghar, constitutional expert Mohamed Nour Farahat , Hazem El-Biblawy, Makram Mahana and Farid Zahran.

The Nationalist Front also includes a number of leaders from key political parties and movements, such as Abdel-Galil Mostafa from the National Association for Change's coordinator, Ahmed Said, the head of the Free Egyptians Party, Mohamed Abul-Ghar, the head of the Egyptian Social Democratic party, Ayman Nour, the head of the Ghad El-Thawra , Abdel-Ghafr Shukr of the Socialist popular alliance Party leader and Mohamed Sami of the Nasserist Karama Party .

It also includes representatives from El-Adl Party, the Social Democratic Front Party and Masr El-Horreya Party.

The political forces said that even if the two presidential candidates endorsed this "document of the pledge," that would not necessarily mean that they will endorse them in the upcoming second round.

Farahat said that the document was originally drafted in order to lay down rules agreed upon by Egypt's political forces that will put a political point of reference to be respected by the two candidates.

The Nationalist Front is planning to garner popular support for the document in order to pressure both candidates to sign on. They plan to create a website, organise a door-to-door campaign to bring the public on board, and ask prominent figures to endorse the document.

The document of the pledge demands that the upcoming president starts negotiations with all political forces to form a new coalition government that will include women, youth and Christians and be representative of all Egypt's political forces. The name of the prime minister, the document added, must also be made public before the runoffs.

The document emphasizes the right of the Egyptian people to resist and revolt should the next president not respect all articles of a constitution, or in cases of constitutional and human rights violations.

The document of the pledge encompasses the following requirements:

1) Egypt is a civil, democratic state in which political authorizations are rooted in the supreme Constitution and law.

2) Maintaining Article 2 of the 1971 Constitution that establishes the principles of Islamic law ( Shari’a) as the principal source of legislation, while respecting all interpretations made by the Supreme Constitutional Court.

3) Adhering to the notion of equal citizenship between men and women in all rights and duties before the law, and the criminalisation of discrimination, blasphemy and the incitement of hatred on the basis of religious belief, color, sex or social status.

4) Respecting the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary through a new legislation that bans all forms of exceptional courts and guarantees the legitimate right to fair trial before an ordinary court.

5) Respecting public freedoms of expression, thought, political participation, scientific research and artistic expression.

6) All citizens enjoy equal access to opportunities, rights, and duties.

7) Protecting key government institutions against any attempts of domination by any political group, chiefly the judiciary, military, police, Al-Azhar and state-owned education bodies through preserving professionalism and impartiality.

8) Respecting basic human rights enshrined in international charters and protocols signed and ratified by Egypt.

9) The commitment of the next president to confront any legal or political endeavors that breach public freedoms or human rights or obstructs the process of a peaceful power transfer and takes necessary measures to transfer all current military trials of civilians to the civil courts.

10) The commitment of the next president to form a national unity government headed by a publicly-supported national figure to be proclaimed ahead of the runoff elections, while abolishing all political organisations and parties established on sectarian or religious basis.

11) The Cancellation of the state of emergency and establishment of a unified electoral law to ensure just representation for all social segments.

12) The choice of the foreign, interior, and defense ministers should be consistent with the concepts of neutrality and competence.

13) The commitment of the next president to neutrally guarantee equal representation to all political and social sects in top level positions (presidency, government, governors, and administrative state apparatus).

14) The commitment of the next president to achieve social justice, empower disadvantaged social groups such as street children and people with special needs and adopt balanced policies of wages that fulfill basic needs of all citizens such as health, education, nutrition…etc.

15) The importance of safeguarding the civilian character of the state and excluding the armed forces out of the political landscape.

16) The formation of the constituent assembly by 9 June, 2012, with equal representation to all elements of the Egyptian society, especially the Copts, women, and youth.

17) All political force are urged to prioritise the national over special interests through avoiding reliance on any means that might lead to an unjust distribution of seats within the assembly.

18) All articles of the new constitution must be ratified with a two-third vote.