Egypt liberals quit Islamist-led law body

2012-03-26 19:11

Cairo - Two liberal Egyptian politicians on Monday pulled out of a 100-member panel to draft a new constitution after Islamists took a majority of its seats. The liberals complained that the body is not representative of the whole public.

The panel selected over the weekend includes nearly 60 Islamists and only six women and six Christians. The members were chosen by parliament's two chambers, where Islamists have a majority.

The two who quit the constituent assembly are independent lawmaker Amr Hamzawy and Christian activist Mona Makram Obeid.

They announced on their Twitter accounts that they were leaving the panel.

"I polled those who elected me and the majority of them said they preferred for me to stay on the constituent assembly," Hamzawy wrote. "I gave the matter a great deal of thought and studied the make-up of the assembly. My conscience told me to pull out."

Obeid, a former lawmaker and a prominent women's rights activist, said, "the religious nature and the absence of women are behind my withdrawal from the constituent assembly".

Several other liberals were said to be considering dropping out of the panel.

The new constitution will decide whether Egypt will undergo further Islamisation, abandoning decades of secular traditions that accorded minority Christians and women roles in the government and economy, while allowing the spread of conservative Islam as well.

The charter also will determine whether the decades-old system of a powerful president will be maintained, or instead, an empowered parliament under Islamist domination will set the tone.

Activists left out

Young revolutionaries who led the 18-day popular uprising that led to Mubarak's downfall a year ago were mostly secular, liberal activists. However, they failed to translate their uprising success into votes and are a tiny minority in the new parliament.

Activists have continued their demonstrations, complaining that the military rulers are carrying on Mubarak's repressive practices and expressing concern that the new Islamist-dominated parliament will lead the nation down the road of strict Islam at their expense.

The Brotherhood is also in a spat with the military. The Islamists charge that the Cabinet the generals appointed is a failure, and a new one, led by the Brotherhood, should replace it.

"The [ruling] military council bears full responsibility for attempts to hinder the process of democratic transition and... exporting crises to future governments," said a statement by the Freedom and Justice Party, the Brotherhood's political wing.

The party also charged that the military might try to rig the presidential election to install a favourable candidate. The Brotherhood is considering running its own candidate for president, reversing an earlier decision not to do so, it said.

The military council, which took power after Mubarak's overthrow, hit back with a statement calling it unacceptable to question its commitment to turning over power to a civilian government and to a fair presidential election.

The military, in a statement that did not mention the Brotherhood by name, also made a thinly veiled threat of a crackdown against the group, alluding to the mid-1950s, when it was outlawed and hundreds of its members were detained after the Brotherhood challenged the rule of the military.

"We ask everyone to learn from the lessons of history so we avoid the mistakes of a past we don't wish to return to," the military statement said.

The election is set for May 23-24 with a run-off, if necessary, in June. The winner would be announced June 21. The military has pledged to hand over power by the end of June.

Read more on:    egypt  |  north africa  |  uprisings

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.