Protesters at State Council support appeal against Constituent Assembly

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By Heba Hesham

CAIRO: Dozens of political activists and movements organized a protest Tuesday morning in front of the State Council to express their rejection of the Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly during the first session of an appeal against the panel at the Administrative Court.

The assembly, comprised of 50 MPs and 50 members from outside parliament, will hold its first meeting on March 28.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and the Salafi Al-Nour garnered around 75 percent of the 50 percent allocated to lawmakers, that is 38 members, while dominating about 40 percent (20 members) of the other half of the assembly, thus totaling 58 members, almost 60 percent of the assembly.

“The idea of selecting one faction to draft the constitution indicates their [Islamists] arrogance and their belief that they are the sole power in the political arena. We are not enacting legislation for a small village; this is Egypt’s constitution,” said scriptwriter and producer Mohamed El-Adl, head of the Egyptian Creativity Front.

Participants included the Egyptian Association for Change, the Democratic Front Party, the Free Egyptians Party, Al-Tagammu Party and the Revolution Youth Union.

Presidential hopeful Khaled Aly and lawyer Hafez Abu Saeda, head of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR), were there as the lawyers who had filed the appeal.

Abu Saeda filed an appeal to the Administrative Court to revoke the PA’s decision regarding the formation of the Constituent Assembly.

“We based our appeal on the fact that there is no law that regulates Article 60 of the constitutional declaration since every rule in the constitution should have a law that regulates its application,” Abu Saeda told reporters. “For instance, how would members of the assembly reach a conclusion if they disagree on any given article?”

The article stipulates that MPs elect members of the Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution within six months of their election and then call for a referendum within 15 days.

Meanwhile, Aly told reporters that he based his defense on four points.

The first point is that the appeal falls under the jurisdiction of the Administrative Court because the decision to form the panel is an administrative one. Then, he said, the text of Article 60 does not identify the profile of those to be elected by the MPs.

The verdict is slated for April 10.

Activist Karima El-Hefnawy said that if the verdict is not in their favor, they plan to escalate through protests and sit-ins in front of parliament.

“We can form a committee of 100 to draft a parallel constitution representing all sectors of society,” activist George Ishaq said.

Journalist Wael Qandil, however, refused this idea saying that a constitution is a consensus document that regulates the relationship between the state and citizens for over 100 years.

Qandil said that they will continue pushing for solution that satisfies the people.

“The non-Islamist political powers must understand that they are the third part of the equation which includes the military council and the Islamists,” he said.


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