Constitutional document crisis nears resolution, sources say

On Tuesday, informed sources said that meetings held by Deputy Prime Minister Ali al-Selmy might result in a compromise over his controversial constitutional principles document, a text designed to enshrine fundamental rules and principles into Egypt’s future constitution.

The revelation comes one day before the deadline that political forces gave the government to withdraw the document altogether. As part of the compromise, Article 1 – which pertains to the constituent committee tasked with writing the new constitution – along with articles 9 and 10 – which provide certain privileges for the armed forces – may be amended.

The sources said Selmy was adamant about maintaining the armed forces’ special status and only allowing the National Security Committee – not parliament – to discuss military affairs. He was more lenient regarding the constituent committee and said he would allow a wider representation of parliament members, something which would please Islamist trends, especially the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis.

Selmy gave political forces 24 hours to discuss the latest changes before the document was presented to the military council and officially announced on Wednesday.

“If the amendments are agreed upon, we’ll invite all political parties to sign the document,” said Wahid Abdel Meguid, president of the Democratic Alliance’s follow-up committee, adding that the signatories would “morally” bound to the document.

“In that case, Friday’s million-man demonstration wouldn’t be necessary,” he said.

For his part, Saad al-Husseiny, member of the executive office of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, said the document should only play an “advisory” role in forming the new constitution.

“We would reject it if it deviated from that role,” he said. Tarek al-Zommor, spokesman of the Jama’a al-Islamiya Shura Council, agreed.

On the other hand, Nader Bakar, member of the Salafi Nour Party’s supreme committee, said the party categorically rejects the document, be it advisory or obligatory, and insists that the military council hand over power by April.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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