Bickering Intensifies Over Egyptian Constitution

Article Summary
As protests unfold in Cairo and throughout the country in response to the Egyptian judiciary’s verdict on Mubarak and his top aides, Egyptian politicians are bickering over the formation of a Constituent Assembly. Dalia Othman reports that the SCAF has warned that if no consensus is reached, it will take matters into its own hands.

On June 5, Egyptian protesters flooded into Tahrir Square and other squares across the country. Every political movement participated in the mass “justice rally," outraged at the acquittal of top officials accused of ordering protesters to be killed in the January 25 Revolution. They were also angry that former President Hosni Mubarak escaped the death penalty. Protesters demanded that the law of political isolation be applied to former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq.

Meanwhile, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), held a meeting with party leaders and political movements to discuss the formation of the Constituent Assembly. Several parties boycotted the meeting, including the Freedom and Justice party, the Party of Democratic Revolution and the Ghad El-Thawra (Revolution's Tomorrow) party.

Presidential candidates Hamdeen Sabahi and Khaled Abdel Moneim Fotouh, who lost in the first round of elections, led three marches to Tahrir Square.

During Tantawi’s meeting, the Al-Nour party demanded that 50% of Constitutent Assembly membership be reserved for Islamists, though this was met by scathing attacks from the rest of the parties.

MP Mustafa Bakri attended the meeting and said that SCAF had agreed to hold a comprehensive meeting next Thursday that includes all parties and to form a committee today (June 6) for meeting with the parties that boycotted the meeting.

“SCAF’s deadline for the negotiations is Thursday afternoon. The field marshal stressed that if the participating parties did not agree on the formation of the Constituent Assembly, then SCAF will issue a constitutional declaration which states the powers of the president of the Republic,” Bakri told Al-Masry al-Youm.

In response to Head of Parliament Saad El-Katatni’s refusal to issue a complementary constitutional declaration, Bakri said: “The field marshal assured us that SCAF will not issue any complementary constitutional declaration unless it is discussed with all political parties, and only if the political parties fail to reach a consensus.”

Katatni has warned against issuing a complementary constitutional declaration or amending Article 60 of the Constitutional Declaration, which might “prejudice the powers of the parliament.”

Found in: tahrir square, tahrir, scaf, hussein tantawi, hosni mubarak, complementary constitutional declaration

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