No plans to withdraw from Constituent Assembly: Al-Nour Party representative

Al-Nour Party is not thinking of withdrawing from the Constituent Assembly, according to the party’s new representative, Mohamed Ibrahim Mansour.

In statements he gave to Algerian newspaper, Al-Fajr, he added that the situation in Egypt now “must lead all political factions to think about consensus.”

Mansour said that the party’s suggestions to the assembly focus on three articles: Article 2, which concerns the state’s identity; Article 3, which governs the practice of non-Muslim practices; and Article 219, which explains the term “Sharia principles.”

The the party submitted suggestions for all constitutional articles, Mansour said, adding that the party will work with all assembly members to produce a “respectable constitution” that does not oppose “Islamic Sharia.”

Al-Nour Party spokesman Sherif Taha did not confirm Mansour’s having given these statements, but said that the party “agrees with their content.”

Taha added that the party prefers “not to amend the articles regarding the armed forces, and keep them as they came in 2012 constitution.”

Al-Nour Party has stressed several times that its participation in the Constituent Assembly will continue. Party chairman Younes Makhioun said on Al-Arabiya TV channel on 17 September that the assembly was off to a “bad start”, but confirmed the party would continue to participate it in it. He reiterated this message during a TV interview on Sunday, saying that “the Al-Nour Party is determined to continue in the Constituent Assembly should there be a national consensus.”

Former Al-Nour Party representative in the Constituent Assembly, Bassam Al Zarqa was recently replaced with Mansour by presidential decree.

Al-Zarqa withdrew from a sub-committee session in protest over a disagreement on the topic of Sharia in the constitution. Ihab Badawi, presidential spokesman, later said that the Al-Nour Party had requested this replacement.

Makhioun meanwhile condemned what he described as “injustice and exclusion against the party” by reserving only one seat it in the assembly, despite the presidential decree forming the assembly having reserved two seats for Islamist parties. “Al-Nour was the only Islamist party to apply for the assembly’s membership,” Makhioun said in his Sunday interview. “The party should have gotten two seats.”

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