Brotherhood rejects pre-election drafting of constitution

The Muslim Brotherhood on Sunday rejected calls made by Egyptian liberal and leftist movements for drafting a new Egyptian constitution prior to parliamentary elections slated for September.

Secular groups and parties meeting at a conference in Cairo on Saturday called for drafting a constitution that would require the Egyptian army to ensure Egypt remained a civil state. The groups also demanded amending Article II of the interim constitutional declaration and add a paragraph granting non-Muslim Egyptians the right to be ruled in accordance with their own religious texts.

In a statement, the secular groups said that "the completion of state institutions, the development of a permanent constitution and the transfer of power to the people in a democratic and legitimate manner, is the best way to achieve stability, encourage investment and begin development and advancement.”

The statement went on to say that the “constitutional declaration concludes that the procedures to achieve this are time-limited.” It said that the groups “are still hearing voices calling for prolonging the transitional period, postponing the parliamentary, Shura Council and presidential elections, and drafting the constitution.”

The Muslim Brotherhood responded with its own statement: “These [people] are only interested in their personal benefit with no consideration for the country’s best interests… and the interests and objectives of the revolution.”

In April, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which currently rules Egypt, announced a constitutional declaration for running the country during the transitional period. The document states that an elected parliament would form a constitutional committee of 100 members to write a permanent constitution.

The Brotherhood said that it wants the constitutional committee to be elected by representatives of the people and not formed through appointments by decision makers. The group also emphasized that the committee should heed the demands of all segments of society when drafting the new constitution.

Observers say the biggest controversy surrounding the writing of a new constitution concerns the choice between a presidential or parliamentary system. Islamist forces back the parliamentary system, while secular forces support the presidential system.

Observers also believe the military's role in the political process will be a focus of controversy when it comes time for writing the new constitution.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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