Ahead of court ruling, Brotherhood invites dialogue on new constitution

The Muslim Brotherhood has invited political forces to a conversation on the country’s future constitution, probably to preempt a court ruling that might dissolve the Constituent Assembly.

The State Council Administrative Court is expected on Tuesday to rule on the legality of the constitution-drafting body. Forty-eight lawsuits have been filed to demand the dissolution of the assembly, which was formed in June. Plaintiffs say the formation violated the March 2011 Constitutional Declaration by including MPs as members, and failed to represent all social groups.

Protests last Friday called for a constitution-writing process that is free from the domination of a specific political group.

Mohamed al-Beltagy, Brotherhood leader and chairman of the assembly’s Proposals Committee, said attempts to lead the assembly to the same fate as the dissolved People’s Assembly are doomed to fail.

He said in a press statement that the constitution-drafting panel’s work over the past four months refute allegations that the constitution will be dominated by a specific movement.

“Neutral commentators from within and outside the assembly proved those allegations were untrue,” Beltagy said. “Evidence to that is the draft the assembly issued recently.”

Beltagy called upon all political forces to visit the assembly and discuss additions and omissions to the document.

Constituent Assembly Secretary General Amr Darrag, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, said the first draft, issued last Wednesday, was intentionally incomplete to give people a chance to get acquainted with its controversial aspects and to achieve maximum popular participation in the process.

“We are seeking a state of social consensus before the constitution is put forward for a referendum,” Darrag added, stressing that criticism and feedback on the first draft are all being considered.

Darrag denounced what he described as the media’s continual attack on the assembly, criticizing allegations that Islamists are dominating the panel. He said the constitution seeks to ensure people’s rights instead of categorizing them politically.

Meanwhile, Nasser al-Hafy, a member of the FJP legal committee, said the party and the Brotherhood have prepared for all possible outcomes of the court case. He said that if the court dissolves the assembly, they will appeal the verdict.

He added that President Mohamed Morsy could form a new Constituent Assembly if appeals to save the current panel fail. Hafy predicted that any new incarnation would include the majority of current members as well as some additional representatives of other political forces. He stressed, however, that a new assembly would be required to build on the current draft.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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