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Concern and Confrontation About Constitutional Principles

Posted on the 10 November 2011 by Warigia @WarigiaBowman
Many different kinds of Egyptian political groups are worried about the so called "constitutional principles document." The document was proposed by Deputy Prime Minister Ali al-Selmy around the first of November, 2011.
The document creates a constitutional drafting committee comprised of 100 members, of whom 80 are outside Parliament, and 20 are from parties inside parliament, with a maximum of five members for each party. The SCAF, presumably, will select the 80 members outside parliament.
This document grants the SCAF the sole right to discuss the military's budget. The SCAF could also review all matters related to the military, and approve legislation related to the military. These items do not sound very democratic. A previous post discusses this. Governance, Accountability and Stakeholders The head of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, Hafez Abu Seada, walked out of the meeting on the document, which he says eviscerates parliament.
That being said, the document states that Egypt is a democratic civil state, that Islam is the official religion, and Sharia the source of legislation. It gives the right to non-Muslims to follow their own creeds. 
The human rights groups are not the only ones who do not like the document. The Islamists believe that it is an attempt to weaken their influence, and have called for a million-man march against the document on Friday, November 18th. The Islamists dislike the reference to Non-Muslim creeds. They say there is a US project behind the document.
Originally, secularists wanted a supra-constitutional document to ensure a secular nation, but the SCAF has cleverly subverted this ploy, turning it into a device to ensure the role of the military. Mohamed ElBaradei calls the document "distorted" and has expressed concerns regarding the power it gives the military. According to Al Masry Al Youm Mohamed Hamed, of the Free Egyptians party is more comfortable with the strong military role, than with a religious Islamist state.
The Freedom and Justice newspaper notes its strong opposition to the document. Some papers report that the Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood are coordinating candidate nominations ahead of the parliamentary elections, however the Freedom and Justice party has denied this.
Civil society organizations have until November 19, 2011 to apply for permits to monitor the elections. The extension came from a request by the National Council for Human Rights.
Sources:
"Officials Extend Deadline for Election Monitor Applications," November 9, 2011, Al Masry Al Youm
"Nour party coordinates election strategy with Muslim Brotherhood," November 9, 2011, Al Masry Al Youm
"Campaign tensions escalate," November 10, 2011, Al Masry Al Youm 
"Islamists plan 18 November protests against super constitutional principles," November 7, 2011, Al Masry Al Youm.
Noha El-Hennawy, "Supra-constitutional debate heats up again," November 3, 2011 Al Masry Al Youm
"Constitutional principles document gives military special status," November 1, 2011, Al Masry Al Youm


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