Katatny: The constituent assembly cannot be dissolved

The constituent assembly cannot be dissolved and re-formed by any authority, People’s Assembly Speaker Saad al-Katatny said Wednesday.

Katatny told Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr: “The constituent assembly cannot be reconstituted now that it has been formed. Nobody can do this; not the People’s Assembly, the Shura Council or the military council.”

The assembly has been criticized by liberal forces and constitutional law experts as unrepresentative of the wider Egyptian population.

“The assembly has already been formed and begun its tasks,” Katatny continued. “We will write a constitution within six months, the presidential election will happen in May alongside the constitutional drafting process, and the next president will not be a divine ruler as some are claiming.”

He added: “The Constitutional Declaration is an interim constitution we all abide by. After we finish drafting the new constitution, it will be put to a public referendum.”

Speaking about those who resigned from the assembly in protest, Katatny said, “No one informed us that they officially withdrew aside from Mohamed Abul Ghar by phone. We considered everyone else who did not attend the first meeting absentees.”

Many secular and liberal members chosen for the Parliament-elected assembly have publicly decided to withdraw in protest. Some legal experts claim that as a result, the new constitution will not be legitimate.

Mohamed Nour Farahat, constitutional law expert and former head of the military junta’s Advisory Council, told Al-Masry Al-Youm the People's Assembly could issue a law stipulating that the constituent assembly be re-formed using new standards for membership.

London-based newspaper Al-Hayat reported Thursday that the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, would hold a “decisive” meeting with political forces Thursday to discuss the constituent assembly controversy.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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