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Political parties and Egypt’s constitutions

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The Daily News Egypt takes a look at the positions of prominent parties in both years.

Former president Morsi  receives a copy of the final draft of the new constitution from the head of the Islamist-dominated constituent assembly Hossam el-Gheriany, on 1 December 2012 (AFP Photo)

Former president Morsi receives a copy of the final draft of the new constitution from the head of the Islamist-dominated constituent assembly Hossam el-Gheriany, on 1 December 2012 (AFP Photo)

In 2012, the Constituent Assembly put a new constitution to a final vote on 29 November before approving the final draft on 30 November. The process was heavily criticised for being dominated by Islamists. The draft was approved during heightened tensions following the announcement of a constitutional declaration by then-President Mohamed Morsi on 22 November. The declaration ignited widespread protests and spread fears that the ruling Islamist party wanted to consolidate power. Repealing the declaration was not enough to thwart mounting criticism.  Morsi proceeded with a referendum on 15 and 22 December and the constitution was passed by 63.8% on 25 December. Only 17,058,317 million of 51,919,067 million eligible Egyptian voters took part in the vote.

The 2012 Constitution was suspended in July during an announcement by Defence Minister Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, the same announcement in which he deposed Morsi.

Almost exactly one year later, on 1 December, after the Constituent Assembly passed the draft constitution in 2012, a new Constituent Assembly approved an amended version of the suspended constitution. The referendum on the draft constitution is set to be held on 14 and 15 January 2014.

Interim  president Adly Mansour receives a copy of the final draft of the new constitution from the head of the constituent assembly Amr Moussa on 3 December 2013 (Presidency handout photo)

Interim president Adly Mansour receives a copy of the final draft of the new constitution from the head of the constituent assembly Amr Moussa on 3 December 2013 (Presidency handout photo)

The most recent draft has also received criticism as it allows for military trials of civilians, which were also permitted under the 2012 constitution.

The country’s political parties have announced different positions on the two referendums, paying little heed to experts’ criticism.

Amr Moussa, who was a leader in Morsi’s largest opposition bloc, spearheaded this year’s amendments and served as the Chairman of the Constituent Assembly.

 

Positions of prominent parties in both years:

Positions on 2012 referendum

Positions on 2014 referendum

The Freedom and Justice Party called on people to vote Yes. The Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm had launched a campaign urging people to vote Yes for the sake of development and productivity, while playing on the people’s yearning for stability. The Freedom and Justice Party announced that it would boycott the upcoming referendum describing it as a “fake referendum” on “illegitimate” amendments.The Anti Coup Alliance which includes the Freedom and Justice Party, as well as several other pro-Morsi groups and parties, also said it would boycott the referendum, adding that it is on a mission to save Egypt from a “bloody coup.” The alliance was formed in opposition to Morsi’s ouster, describing it as a coup d’etat.
The National Salvation Front called on Egyptians to vote No, including Al-Dostour Party which launched a campaign to call on people to vote No. The National Salvation Front was the largest opposition bloc during Morsi’s tenure. The bloc said it would vote No, listing five conditions such as full judicial oversight and proper security both inside and outside voting booths that had not been met. It demanded that the referendum be held on one day, instead of two. Parties within the front are forming different electoral alliances this year and the front no longer speaks as one bloc. The positions of various parties that were in the bloc last year are:Al-Dostour Party said it remains neutral between Yes and No, adding that it rejects any boycott campaign against the referendum.Al-Tayar Al-Shaaby coalition which is part of the front said that it will vote Yes. It announced the decision “despite the fact that the constitution does not fulfill the revolution’s ambitions,” especially in the articles concerned with military trials.

The majority of the members of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party decided to vote Yes in the upcoming referendum. The party’s Executive Media Secretary Atef Adly said that while 90 percent of the party’s members have reservations on articles that allow military trials of civilians, the current goal is to gather people and parties around the Yes vote in order to achieve stability.

 

Misr Al-Qawia Party said it was voting No, with Party Chairman Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh describing the draft constitution as one “that does not achieve our ambitions for social justice and freedom.” Misr Al-Qawia Party stood its ground urging people to vote No. It strongly criticised the 2013 Constituent Assembly which amended the 2012 Constitution, saying that it does not represent the natural “diversity of the Egyptian people.” It also described the assembly’s amendments as distorted and accused it of working in secret.
Al-Nour Party announced that it would vote Yes, for the sake of stability, for combating corruption and for the sake of guaranteeing the rights of non-Muslims in Egypt, the Copts and Jews. Al-Nour Party is once more voting Yes, calling on Egyptians to “take an important step towards fulfilling stability in the country.” The party had previously described amendments made to the suspended 2012 Constitution as “satisfactory.”

 

Check Daily News Egypt’s review of the year


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