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Defending the constitution

Salafi party produces a series of documentaries about the constituent assembly and the constitution

Al-Nour Party deny that a series of documentaries were produced in order to influence the upcoming referendum on the constitution.

The documentaries, produced by the party’s Heliopolis secretariat, record its members’ role in the constitutional drafting process. The footage was posted on the secretariat’s Facebook page on Monday, five days prior to the referendum.

“We’ve been planning the production of those documentaries since at least a month and a half,” Sha’ban Abdel Alim, Al-Nour party board member, said.

He added that the decision to produce the documentaries is not related to the controversy which arose over the legitimacy of the constitution in the past couple of weeks.

Hossam Ragab, the coordinator of the parliamentary committee in the party, said the documentaries target all Egyptians and do not aim at influencing the vote on the referendum.

“The documentary had to be released now,” Abdel Alim said, “the whole point is for the people to see it before, not after, the referendum is held.”

The first part of the documentary, entitled “the Constituent Assembly in a few lines” goes through a list of statistics regarding the assembly’s formation and actions.

In the footage, Ragab draws a comparison between the swift drafting of the proposed constitution and that of the 1923 constitution. He adds that unlike all previous constitutions, this new document was drafted by an assembly of 100 members who were elected and not appointed.

In another documentary, entitled “misconceptions about the constitution”, party member Nour Al-Din Ali states that the assembly consists of several of experts.

“We have over 10 constitutional experts, over seven experts in constitution-drafting and over 10 law professors,” Aly said, “that’s besides the presence of writers, intellectuals, artists and sportsmen.”

Aly also lists the different mechanisms of drafting a constitution, adding that the constitution was drafted through a mixture of the two most democratic mechanisms.

“We have merged between forming an elected constituent assembly to draft the constitution, and having the public vote on the end product through a referendum,” Aly said.

Constitutional expert Ibrahim Darwish, who has contributed to the drafting of several countries’ constitutions, stated that a referendum is the worst mechanism to be used when passing a constitution.

 “Referendums are only held in underdeveloped countries,” Darwish said, adding that “all developed countries resort to the mechanism of establishing a constituent assembly directly elected by the people, which in turn, drafts the constitution and votes on it.”

Al-Nour party is among the diligent supporters of the draft constitution, urging all its members to vote yes on the referendum. The party, however, announced Monday that it shall not take part in pro-Morsy demonstrations scheduled to take place on Tuesday under the banner of “supporting legitimacy.”

Additional reporting by Sara El-Masry

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