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Tensions rise within Constituent Assembly

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Moussa calls for amending voting procedures

By Ibrahim El-Masry 

Members of the Constituent Assembly argued over the method of voting on the draft constitution and the formation of smaller three-person drafting committee in a Monday meeting.

The current assembly by-laws state that constitutional articles need a 67 percent majority to pass and failing that, a second round of voting is held where only a 57 percent majority is needed.

Former Arab League Secretary General and fifth place presidential runner up Amr Moussa called for a change in the bylaws in order to make it so that consensus is needed to pass an article.

Moussa also said he had signatures from a third of assembly members calling for certain amendments to constitutional articles that were still the subject of debate within the assembly.

Constituent Assembly Chairman Hossam El-Gheriany told Moussa that a three-member drafting committee was formed to finalise the drafting and that the current proposed draft was not finalised, asking him to wait.

Moussa responded by saying he respects the composition of that committee but some of its members have clear ideological biases and that articles need to be agreed upon by all members.

The former Arab League Chief got into a spat with fellow assembly member and Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed El-Beltagy who criticised “those who send a message that the assembly cannot reach consensus,” adding that “this kind of talk can lead to the burning of the country.”

“No one owns the constitution and there are some who take advantage of having the majority and democracy is not just loud slogans,” replied Moussa, referencing the domination of Islamists over the assembly.

El-Beltagy called on all committees to forgo their differences and finalise the constitution as soon as possible.

Assembly member Gaber Nassar objected to voting in a new drafting committee, referencing the lack of quorum and arguing that forming a committee was a substantive, not a procedural vote.


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