Deadline for Egyptian Consensus On Constituent Assembly is Over

Article Summary
The Army recently implemented a 48-hour deadline for Egyptian political parties to unanimously decide on the formation of the Constituent Assembly, otherwise the Army would do it for them, Adel al-Darjali writes. But the deadline has come and gone without any consensus.

Head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) Field Marshal Tantawi gave political parties and movements 48 hours to agree on the formation of the Constituent Assembly, which will be responsible for developing a new constitution. That deadline ended June 7, after which the SCAF is to either issue a complementary constitutional declaration, or activate the 1971 Constitution despite the controversy among constitutional law scholars on this issue. Meanwhile, the parties that boycotted yesterday’s SCAF meeting changed their position and decided to attend a June 7 SCAF meeting. The Freedom and Justice Party has not yet decided whether or not it will participate in the meeting.

The Freedom and Justice Party, which is the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, did not attend the meeting, which included SCAF, political parties represented in parliament, and a number of independent MPs. The Egyptian Social Democratic Party, the Al-Wasat Party, and the Revolution’s Tomorrow Party also decided not to attend the five-hour meeting.

This was a topic of discussion during the meeting. Field Marshal Tantawi said: “I would have hoped that all political parties and movements attended this meeting, and especially the Freedom and Justice Party, so the nation could overcome this historical crossroads.” This prompted a number of party leaders to ask Field Marshal Tantawi for a three-day period to negotiate with the parties that were absent from the meeting, but Tantawi only gave them a 48-hour period, which ended Thursday at noon.

Several  proposals were made at the meeting, including the declaration of a supplementary constitution, or reactivating the 1971 Constitution after adding the amendments issued in the constitutional declaration. The Al-Nour Party demanded that Islamists retain at least a 51 percent presence in the committee, since they constitute the parliamentary majority. The National Progressive Unionist Party and the Free Egyptians party rejected this.

The parties that had boycotted the previous meeting announced that they would attend today's meeting. This decision came after SCAF threatened to unilaterally issue a constitutional declaration with the constitutional standards for forming the Constituent Assembly in charge of drafting the constitution if the political parties did not make a unanimous decision within 48 hours. The Egyptian Social Democratic Party, the Revolution’s Tomorrow Party, and the Al-Wasat Party confirmed that they will attend the meeting, though the Freedom and Justice Party has not yet specified its position.

Sayyed Moustafa, vice president of Al-Nour Party and head of the party’s parliamentary bloc, said that the “constituent assembly” crisis is over. He said that all of the parties that met with the SCAF had already set the parameters for forming the Assembly, stressing that he will make a final decision at today’ meeting between these forces and the SCAF. Moustafa told Al-Masry al-Youm that all political forces have agreed that there will be 37 seats for the parties in the Assembly, 20 seats for the youth and public figures, nine seats for law specialists, six for judicial bodies, five for Al-Azhar, four for the churches, and one seat each for the Ministry of Justice, the Armed Forces, and Ministry of Interior. 

Found in: tantawi, scaf, egyptian elections

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