Supra-constitutional principles cause rift between political forces

The Democratic Alliance’s elections committee, led by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, has invited various political forces that have reservations regarding the recently proposed supra-constitutional principles bill to meet on Thursday in order to take a common position on it.

Committee Chairman Wahid Abdel Meguid said it asked Deputy Prime Minister Ali al-Selmy, who prepared the bill, to delete the phrase in Article 9 that says “the army is the protector of legitimacy” on the grounds that the people are the guardians of legitimacy, as they are the source of power.
The committee also asked Selmy to delete Articles 2 and 3, which deal with the committee that will be formed to prepare the constitution. The committee says it wants no single party to solely prepare the constitution, be it the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the government or parliament.
Also, it said, the constituent assembly should fairly represent all segments of society, regardless of the number of its members from inside and outside parliament.
The committee claimed that all parties and political forces object to these proposals, which they deem as taking the will of the people into custody.
It also said the proposals issued by the cabinet should not be labeled as a constitutional document, and should be signed by all political party leaders at a national conference as “guiding principles,” so as not to deprive the people of their inherent right to accept or reject any draft constitution.
The committee said it is thereby defending the right of the people, not that of parliament or the future constituent assembly, as it is the people who must have the final word in the referendum on Egypt's constitution, without the custodianship of any party or authority in the country.
Finally, it reminded the cabinet that its idea of ​​taking to the streets on 18 November if the proposed bill is passed still stands.
On the other hand, the National Assembly for Change (NAC) has accused Islamist forces of using the bill and the standards of the constituent committee to impose their will on the people. 
In a statement on Saturday, the NAC said those forces are trying to control parliament and form the constituent committee by themselves in order to achieve their own agenda, warning of jeopardizing the elements of the civil state and the goals of the peaceful revolution.
The statement also considered dialogue on the document a positive step in principle, as it could lead to a national consensus, despite its reservations regarding Article 9 on the status of the army, and what it called the “ambiguous” means of forming the constituent committee or putting in place guarantees that it would not be controlled by a particular trend.
“The document should heal the current political division that has resulted from a certain extremist religious discourse that tries to thwart any bid for national consensus over a new constitution that reassures all parties about the future of Egypt,” the statement said.
It has also accused certain political forces, which it did not identify, of unnecessarily calling for million-strong demonstrations without consulting other national and revolutionary forces, so as to promote their own partisan agendas, thereby reducing the impact of demonstrations as a method to achieve people’s demands.
“The Muslim Brotherhood was for writing the constitution first,” said NAC coordinator Abdel Gelil Mostafa. “But they changed their position when they found that the Interim Constitution would ensure them a better control of parliament.”
Translated from the Arabic Edition

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