Hossam al-Gheriany, head of both the Supreme Judicial Council and the Court of Cassation, won the presidency of the Constituent Assembly on Monday.
Gheriany was nominated to the position during the assembly’s first meeting, presided over by Dr. Hassan al-Shafie, representative of Al-Azhar and the eldest of the assembly members.
Assembly members Essam al-Erian, Essam Sultan and Ayman Nour all nominated Gheriany to head the assembly if no other candidates were introduced for the position. Gheriany won with their nomination.
"You have chosen me and I hope you do not regret your choice,” Gheriany said to the assembly after his appointment. “You are living in a decisive moment in the nation's history. I miss faces in the assembly composition who are not in attendance. I hope they do not refuse to be here. This is the time to serve the country, and this is not the time for procrastination in serving the nation,” he continued.
"I am here without any affiliation except my affiliation to the country and to the assembly. I am not here as a representative of the judiciary. In only a few days, I will leave my position in the judiciary. I was never a member of a party, a sect or a club. Please abandon any affiliations besides your loyalty for this country. There has been enough of what happened from 25 January 2011 until yesterday,” Gheriany said.
"This revolution has been stopped by our hands. The promising youth have made a revolution to create a brilliant future for this country, but the old people fought them with flaming words. Some among you might have stopped the revolution from quickly reaching its goals. We are now facing a complementary constitutional declaration that threatens this assembly,” Gheriany continued.
“Either [the assembly] works within a week or it goes. Either it fulfills its task in three months, or it goes,” he said, referring to the potential threat of the Constituent Assembly being disbanded in the wake of the dissolution of Parliament.
Gheriany called upon assembly members not to be constrained by things like time limitations or constitutional declarations.
“We should craft the general outlines of the constitution, delineate the distribution of power in Egypt and define citizens' rights,” he said, adding that the assembly should hold extensive meetings regarding the details of the constitution in order to draft it in agreement with the aspirations of the people.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm