Opposition rejects constitutional declaration

By Mohamad Nagi

The Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP), Al-Dostour Party, and the Al-Tayar Al-Sha’aby said they do not accept the latest constitutional declaration from interim president Adly Mansour.

Ahmed Hawary, founding member of both the June 30 Front and Al-Dostour Party, said that constitutional declaration was issued without the consensus or even opinion of the political parties and groups. Hawary said that it even contained the same articles that were opposed in the original constitution.

Heba Yassin, media coordinator of Al-Tayar Al-Sha’aby, also rejected the declaration. She said that they did not want the constitution to be amended, but rather rewritten, due to the high levels of controversy stemming from it.

Heba said: “We were asking for presidential elections before parliamentary elections in order to shorten the transitional period to no more than six months.”

She said that by holding parliamentary elections first, the transitional period would be lengthened.

The lack of clarity in the clause regarding military trials for civilians is also a problem, Heba said.

The ESDP released a statement demanding that political parties and groups be given say in decisions regarding the future of Egypt and new legislation by forming a committee for the interim president to consult with.

The statement also highlighted several articles that the party wishes to see amended.

The wording of Article 1 regarding the implementation of the principles of Sharia law is too vague, the statement said, and can lead to the undermining of citizen’s rights of freedom of belief and expression.

The ESDP also wishes to see Article 10 amended to facilitate the creation of unions and nongovernment organizations, and Article 19 modified to guarantee that no civilians be tried under military courts.

The statement also cites Articles 23 and 25, which it said should be amended to limit the president’s powers while the prime minister is in charge of executive matters.

Articles 28 and 29 also must be changed in order see that the constitution is rewritten instead of just amended, the statement said.

Article 30 needs to be amended as well to allow the next elected parliament to set the law governing presidential elections, the ESDP said.

ESDP also said that a vice-president needs to be appointed with his powers clearly outlined, and the addition of an article to stress the welfare of Egyptian women and equality with men.

ESDP, Al-Dostour Party and Al-Tayar Al-Sha’aby are all part of the National Salvation Front.

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