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Presidential advisor defends constitutional amendment

The constituent assembly formation expected to be announced soon; different institutions submit lists of nominees

Interim president Adly Mansour (AFP File Photo)
Interim president Adly Mansour
(AFP File Photo)

Ali Awad Saleh, constitutional advisor of interim president Adly Mansour, defended the amendments to the 2012 constitution drafted by the ten-member legal experts’ committee appointed by Mansour.

Saleh told independent satellite channel Al-Hayah on Tuesday that the amendments to the 2012 constitution drafted by the legal experts’ committee rejected the political disenfranchisement law due to its violation of the “generalisation principle”, reported state-run news agency MENA. He added that the committee preferred leaving the matter of “disenfranchising” politicians up to the judiciary.

Saleh addressed the issue of reforming the judiciary, saying that it is capable of “purifying itself”. The now-dissolved Shura Council had been looking into passing amendments to the judiciary law which it claimed would “reform the judiciary”; these draft amendments were highly criticised by the judiciary, especially the Judges Club.

The constitutional advisor said that the amended constitution criminalised any political activity with a religious basis. He added that the committee cancelled article 219, which detailed the sources of the principles of Islamic Sharia to be consulted when applying the constitution.

“This article doesn’t fit in the constitution since the Supreme Constitutional Court already detailed the sources of the Islamic Sharia principles,” Saleh said.

The National Coalition to Support Legitimacy (NCSL) condemned the constitutional amendments in a statement released on Tuesday. The coalition said the amendments “challenge” the religious nature of Egyptians. It specifically criticised the cancellation of article 219, a move it alleged would “open the door for atypical religions.”

“The committee has worked with professionalism, away from any political influences, and was not subjected to any pressure,” Saleh said, adding that the committee received several proposals from citizens. “The amendments it drafted make the 2012 constitution almost new.”

The constitutional advisor stressed the importance of securing a connection between the legal experts’ committee and the 50-member constituent assembly which shall take over the drafting process. Saleh had said on Monday that the constituent assembly’s formation should be announced within 48 hours.

Different political, state and independent institutions have submitted to the presidency lists of candidates they nominated to represent them in the committee.

Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayeb submitted on Tuesday a list of three nominees to represent Al-Azhar in the assembly, reported MENA. The list included the Grand Mufti Shawki Allam, Al-Tayeb’s legal and constitutional advisor Mohamed Abdel Salam and Al-Azhar University professor Abdallah Al-Naggar.

The June 30 Front, founded by the Tamarod rebellion campaign, submitted on Tuesday a list of personalities it nominated for membership in the constituent assembly.

The list, co-drafted by the youth of the National Salvation Front (NSF), and the Tamarod campaign, nominated Tamarod founders Mohamed Abdel Aziz and Mahmoud Badr as Tamarod and public figures representatives. The list also nominated Hossam Mo’ness, spokesman of Al-Tayar Al-Sha’aby as representative for the 25 January Revolution youth.

The presidency put forward the criteria for the selection of the constituent assembly members on 7 August. The criteria included: three Al-Azhar representatives, three representatives from the Coptic Orthodox Church, four youth figures (including a member of Tamarod) and six representatives from political parties.

The culture sector will be represented by four members, the labour sector by two members, professional syndicates by four representatives and farmers by two members. National councils would be represented by five members, and unions and federations by five members. The armed forces and the police would each choose one person to represent them, alongside 10 public figures nominated by the cabinet.

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