Calls for involving the armed forces in politics after transition

National Accord Conference participants on Sunday called for a constitutional article that obliges the army to protect the secular nature of Egypt.

Egyptian liberals say the armed forces should protect the civil state regardless of the president’s identity or the parliament’s composition, thereby allowing Egypt to forge a secular state along the model of contemporary Turkey.

However, other political powers are against giving the armed forces a political role after the current transitional period.

Presidential hopeful Mohamed ElBaradei proposed a 'Bill of Rights' last week that includes general principles to be included in the new constitution. The bill did not suggest any political role for the army.

Former Minister of Social Affairs Mervat al-Tellawy said, in subtle reference to the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis, that including such an article would prevent any political power from changing the state’s basic principles once it reached power.

Some participants also renewed calls for writing a constitution before conducting parliamentary elections. They said holding elections before drafting a new constitution will help restore figures of the old regime to power.

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