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Egypt’s New Draft Constitution Threatens Islamist Parties

Egypt's draft constitution bans religious political parties, a move that has sent many parties scrambling to remove Islamist traces from their platforms.
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi protest against the military and interior ministry, as they show the "Rabaa" or "four" gesture, in reference to the police clearing of Rabaa al-Adawiya protest camp on August 14, in the southern suburb of Maadi September 3, 2013. An Egyptian military court sentenced supporters of Mursi to long jail terms on Tuesday on charges of attacking soldiers in the city of Suez, a military statement said. More than 1,000 people
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Egypt’s Islamist parties are now facing the threat of being kicked out of the country’s political arena following the adoption of constitutional amendments that prohibit the establishment of religiously oriented political parties. This marks a return to constitutional texts in effect since 1971 up until the January 25 Revolution, when such articles were repealed and a large number of parties with Islamist proclivities were formed, led by the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.

According to the road map set by the Egyptian Military Council under the leadership of Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, early presidential and legislative elections must be held following the adoption of new consensual constitutional mechanisms. This was among the demands of supporters of the Tamarod movement, who took to the streets in Tahrir and other squares throughout the republic last June 30 to press for the ouster of deposed President Mohammed Morsi, the unofficial former head of the FJP. The first Constitutional Amendment Commission that was made up of 10 constitutional scholars submitted its report to the presidency. The second commission, composed of 50 members representing the various political powers, will begin its task to prepare the final draft of consensual constitutional amendments on Sept. 9, which will be later subjected to a popular referendum.

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