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Committee of 50 makes strides, causes controversy - Daily News Egypt

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Committee of 50 makes strides, causes controversy

Article VI approved; Al-Nour disagrees with Moussa

A general view of Egypt's 50-member panel that has been tasked with drawing up a new constitution during their first meeting in Cairo on September 8, 2013. (AFP Photo)
A general view of Egypt’s 50-member panel that has been tasked with drawing up a new constitution during their first meeting in Cairo on September 8, 2013.
(AFP Photo)

Appointed on Sunday, Committee of 50 president Amr Moussa is already causing a stir within the group tasked with creating the final draft of the new Egyptian constitution.

In his Sunday acceptance speech as the committee’s president, the former Foreign Minister and 2012 presidential candidate insisted that it is the committee’s responsibility to write a new document rather than amend the 2012 constitution. Moussa insisted that the new constitution should embody the ideals of the revolutions of 25 January and 30 June.

“We obtained an initial draft constitution from a 10-member technical committee and we will take it as a new constitution, rather than as an amended version of 2012’s national charter,” said Moussa.

Moussa’s vision, however, runs counter to the Islamist Al-Nour party who was late to join the Committee of 50.  Al-Nour is concerned that a new constitution written by unelected leaders would be unrepresentative of the people.

“This is against the roadmap set to go forth [after 30 June],” said Al-Nour party spokesman Amr Mekky.  “We had many concerns about writing a new constitution like this…This is not democratic.  We are afraid the constitution will not reflect the Egyptian people on the street.”

Asked whether Al-Nour would drop out of the Committee of 50 if the constitution was rewritten rather than amended, Mekky said that is a matter that would need to be voted on by the Al-Nour party presidential board.

Along with Moussa, the Committee of 50 also elected three deputies: renowned heart surgeon and Christian Magdi Yacoub, female human rights activist Mona Zulficar, and Muslim scholar Kamal El-Helbawy.

Coptic Church representative Bishop Paula praised the committee for its inclusiveness.

“The election of a woman, a Christian and an Islamist thinker as Moussa’s three deputies sends a very important message to Egyptians and to the outside world that Egypt is moving in the right direction and that there is no room for excluding forces from the political scene,” said Bishop Paula.

The committee made further strides on Sunday when it approved Article VI, which states that an amendment only needs a 75% majority by committee members to be accepted into the constitution.

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