EgyptEgyptian assembly to vote on a new constitution today

Published 29 November 2012

Egypt’s National Assembly speaker Hossam el-Gheriyan said that the vote on a new constitution – expected to be held today — would be the only way to quell public anger over President Mohamed Morsi’s sweeping decree, which shields his decisions from judicial or parliamentary scrutiny; observers and leaders of the secular opposition are less sanguine; the new Egyptian constitution will be based on the strict Islamic Sharia law; it is not easy to see how the liberal and secular forces which pushed Mubarak out of power nearly two years ago would readily welcome a legal system which, in some respects, would make Egypt look like Saudi Arabia

Egypt's National Assembly speaker calls for vote on constitution // Source: larepublica.pe

Egypt’s National Assembly speaker Hossam el-Gheriyan said that a vote on the new constitution – expected today — would be the only way to quell public anger over President Mohamed Morsi’s sweeping decree, which shields his decisions from judicial or parliamentary scrutiny.

Haaretz reports that el-Gheriyan said the assembly would be finished with drafting the country’s new constitution late yesterday (Wednesday).

Observers and leaders of the secular opposition are less sanguine that the publication of the new constitution would an end to the growing resentment toward the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood won because many secular and liberal voters were faced with a difficult choice in the presidential election earlier this year: Hosni Mubarak’s former deputy and Morsi, the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Sources close to the Islamic-controlled assembly say that the new Egyptian constitution will be based on the strict Islamic Sharia law. It is not easy to see how the liberal and secular forces which pushed Mubarak out of power nearly two years ago would readily welcome a legal system which, in some respects, would make Egypt look like Saudi Arabia.

It is precisely this attempt by the Muslim Brotherhood to use the writing of the constitution to impose strict Islamic doe on Egypt which brought Morsi into conflict with his erstwhile non-Islamist supporters, who are now his main opponents.

The constitution-writing assembly is being boycotted by most of its non-Islamist members.

Gheriyani said assembly members should come early to today’s (Thursday) session, which would start at 10 a.m., indicating that a vote on the new constitution would be held.

One of the leading opposition figure, Amr Moussa, who withdrew from the assembly last month, said it was misguided to conclude the process so fast. “This is nonsensical and one of the steps that shouldn’t be taken, given the background of anger and resentment to the current constitutional assembly.”

After the assembly approves the new constitution, it would be subject to a popular referendum.

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