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Opposition rejects draft constitution and boycotts Morsy talks

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Opposition calls for consensual constitution representing the 25 January revolution

Mohamed El-Baradie AFP Photo

Mohamed El-Baradie AFP Photo

Members of the opposition, led by Al-Dostor party Chairman Mohamed ElBaradei and Popular Current leader Hamdeen Sabahy, have announced their rejection of the draft constitution released by the Constituent Assembly.

In a Tuesday press conference at the press syndicate a wide coalition of opposition groups including political parties; human rights organisations; workers’ and farmers’ unions; women’s groups; and artists released a statement denouncing the draft and the assembly it originated from.

The statement consisted of three main points. It stated that Egypt’s new constitution must be drafted on the basis of national consensus, and represent the 25 January revolution’s demands.

The signatories of the statement say they reject the current proposed draft due to its lack of proper rights and freedoms, especially when it comes to the rights of women, children and social justice as well as separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary.

Finally, the signatories said that although they believe national dialogue is the only way to draft a proper constitution that guarantees the rights of all, they reject President Mohamed Morsy’s invitation to hold talks at the presidential palace, due to the lack of an agenda or coherent promises regarding a change in the composition of the Constituent Assembly.

The statement was signed by seven parties: the Popular Current, Al-Dostor, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, the Egypt Freedom Party, the Nasserist Party, Al-Karama Party and Al-Adl Party.

A further seven groups also signed: the Democratic Conference of Egyptian Workers, the Independent Workers’ Syndicate, the Defence of Egyptian Women group, the National Committee for Defending the Freedom of Creativity, the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights, the Revolutionary Democratic Alliance, and the Kefaya Movement.

Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei was notable for his absence. The organisers initially said ElBaradei and Sabahy would be present.

ElBaradei helped draft the statement and approved it, but left before the press conference. Al-Dostor Deputy Chairman Ahmed El-Borai and Secretary General Emad Abu Ghazi represented the party in ElBaradei’s absence.

Other notable attendees and speakers included former independent Member of Parliament and Egypt Freedom Party leader Amr Hamzawy, Egyptian Human Rights Organisation President Hafez Abu Saada, and former President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s son Abdel Hakim Abdel Nasser, who represented the newly formed united Nasserist Party.

The keynote speaker was third placed presidential runner up Sabahy, who called on all Egyptians to join the battle for a better constitution.

“The real enemy of Egyptians is poverty, and this constitution does nothing to fight it. The battle for the constitution is that of the worker and the farmer, of the women and the children, not just of the intellectual,” he said.

“I call on all Egyptians in the villages and the poor neighbourhoods to join us in this battle.”

About the author

Ahmed Aboulenein

News Reporter

Ahmed Aboul Enein is an Egyptian journalist who hates writing about himself in the third person. Follow him on Twitter @aaboulenein


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