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Building and Development Party proposes constitutional fix

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Gama’a Islamiyaa’s political wing puts forward mechanism to allow constitutional amendment

The secretary general of the Building and Development Party (BDP) has announced an initiative to call for amending the constitution after it passes.

Several political groups oppose the draft constitution, finalised on Thursday by the Constituent Assembly.

“Our initiative is basically to devise a mechanism to allow for constitutional amendments,” Secretary General Alaa’ Abul Nasr said. He added that the initiative involves reaching consensus from all different political factions, both Islamists and non-Islamists, to avoid the domination of the “majority faction.”

Abul Nasr said the initiative was proposed Monday to a number of “national powers” and movements, adding that they had expressed basic approval.

Al-Wasat party’s official spokesperson, Amr Farouk, however said the initiative was problematic. It could undermine the parliament’s jurisdiction, he said.

“According to the draft constitution, any amendments to the constitution need to be submitted by at least 20 per cent of parliament,” Farouk said. “Then, the amendments are voted on by parliament; they must be approved by at least two-thirds of the council before being put up to a referendum.”

Farouk said amending a constitution is a common practice worldwide. “With enough practice, the shortcomings of certain constitutional articles are highlighted and thus their amendment is in order.”

“The BDP generally approves of the draft constitution,” Abul Nasr said, “though it fails to achieve many of our aspirations.”

The BDP, the Gama’a Islamiyaa’s political wing, was among parties which led a march to Tahrir square early November calling for the implementation of Islamic Shari’a in the constitution. The BDP calls for voting ‘yes’ in the popular referendum on the constitution in order to achieve stability.

A march to the presidential palace was scheduled for Tuesday evening to demand the revocation of President Mohamed Morsy’s  constitutional declaration as well as his decision to put the draft constitution to a referendum on 15 December.

President Morsy announced the date on Saturday night after formally receiving the final version of the draft constitution.


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