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Constituent Assembly bans formation of political parties on religious grounds

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“The committee amended Article 54, which pertains to the establishment of political parties, banning the formation or activities of a party that are based on religious grounds,” Salmawy said.

A general view of Egypt's 50-member panel that has been tasked with drawing up a new constitution during their first meeting in Cairo. (AFP Photo)

A general view of Egypt’s 50-member panel that has been tasked with drawing up a new constitution during their first meeting in Cairo.
(AFP Photo)

Mohamed Salmawy, spokesperson for the Constituent Assembly, announced on Wednesday that the body has decided to ban the formation of political parties that carry a religious message.

He added that the status of existing parties with a religious basis would be reviewed according to criteria that will be established by a subsequent law on political parties. The constitutional draft stipulates that a political party may be disbanded only by a court verdict.

“The committee amended Article 54, which pertains to the establishment of political parties, banning the formation or activities of a party that are based on religious grounds,” Salmawy said. The amended article adds that a political party cannot be formed or active in a manner that is either secretive or discriminatory between citizens.

After the 2011 uprising, several political parties were formed on religious grounds, and a number of them used religion in the political process, including the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafi Al-Nour Party, which were able to win a majority seat in the former parliamentary elections.

The 50-strong committee tasked with amending the suspended 2012 constitution has received a wave of criticism in the political spectrum for excluding Islamists.

With only one representative in the body, Al-Nour Party had previously accused the Constituent Assembly for being “dominated by secularists and leftists that are attempting to impose their views on others.”

The Constituent Assembly has been consulting with a number of groups and organizations on amending articles relevant to their field.

Amr Moussa, the head of the Assembly, held a meeting with the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) on Wednesday to discuss its recommendations for the new constitution

According to a press statement released by the SJC, its head Chancellor, Hamed Abdallah, told Moussa that the constitution should be amended to stipulate that the prosecutor general would be appointed from among the judges of the Cassation Court, heads of the appeals courts and the deputies of the prosecutor general.

Abdallah suggested that the draft should require the approval of the SJC and two-thirds of the parliament for any amendment to the section on the judiciary in the constitution.

The Constituent Assembly also met with the No to Military Trials for Civilians group on Sunday to discuss their demand to end the trying of civilians in military tribunals.


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