Egypt's Constituent Assembly Teeters on Brink Of Collapse

Article Summary
Thirty members of Egypt's Constituent Assembly have threatened to withdraw from the committee tasked with drafting the new Egyptian constitution. As the body prepares to vote on articles over the weekend, a debate rages over the role of the judiciary provided for in the draft constitution.

Thirty members of the Constituent Assembly tasked with drafting the constitution threatened to withdraw yesterday [Nov. 8] should the assembly proceed with its work according to the set schedule for finalizing the draft constitution within two weeks.

They warned against “the hasty [drafting of] the new constitution, and the submission of poorly-written and partial texts that harm the interests of Egyptians.”

The Egypt Judges Club held a general assembly yesterday to determine the position of the judiciary in the constitution. The assembly remained in session when Al-Masry Al-Youm went to print.

In a statement issued yesterday, the 30 assembly members asked Chancellor Hossam al-Ghariani, chairman of the Constituent Assembly, to allow more time for discussing and making detailed proposals on the draft constitution's articles.

They said that Ghariani specified Wednesday, Nov. 7 as the deadline for receiving the proposed amendments to the constitution and decided to terminate the drafting process on Thursday, Nov. 8. According to them, this is “impossible from a practical and logical perspective, and confirms the intention to hastily draft the constitution.”

The signatories, including National Congress Party Head Amr Moussa and Ghad al-Thawra Party Chairman Ayman Nour, said that they are willing to withdraw immediately from the assembly if some insist on what they see as their “ownership of the constitution.”

In related news, Egypt Judges Club Chairman Counselor Ahmad al-Zind said that the judges will not supervise the upcoming referendum on the constitution unless their demand for placement of the judiciary in the constitution in accordance with the proposals of Egypt's judges is fulfilled. He expressed his strong condemnation and denouncement of what was included in the judiciary-related section of the draft constitution, which detracts from the guarantees and independence of the judiciary.

In his address during the club’s emergency general assembly, Zind said that Egypt’s judges will not allow for the constitution to contain articles that exploit the resources of the Egyptian people because Egypt's judges would not agree to act as poisoned daggers in the backs of the Egyptian people.

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