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News number: 9107118204

15:28 | 2012-11-10


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30 Members Threaten to Withdraw from Constituent Assembly in Egypt

TEHRAN (FNA)- 30 constituent assembly members issued a statement on Wednesday, threatening to withdraw from the legislative body in protest at a two-week deadline set for the assembly to finish the draft of the Egyptian constitution.

Assembly Chairman Hossam El-Ghiryani conceded that "time is running out and we should begin an article-by-article discussion of the final draft of the constitution next Sunday."

El-Ghiryani asked members to submit their proposed articles in written form "so that we do not waste time in verbal discussions and wrap up the final draft by the end of next week," Ahram online reported.

According to Sobhi Saleh, a brotherhood lawyer and assembly member, "discussion of and voting on the draft constitution should last no more than two weeks, after which the draft will be put before a national referendum."

The announcements triggered a wave of protests from the liberal and leftist camp, which strongly objected to the draft being discussed within only one or two weeks. Secularists, led by former Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa.

On 7 November, Moussa submitted a document containing amendments of some 200 draft articles.

Moussa said that the amendments introduced by "civil" forces should be discussed next Sunday. "Those who say that the matter should take no more than two weeks should know that drafting the constitution is a national issue and must be handled with utmost care and seriousness while being debated," he said.

On 8 November, Moussa announced that some 30 assembly members were on the verge of withdrawing from the assembly.

The roughly 30 members mulling a walkout include political analysts Wahid Abdel-Meguid and Manar El-Shorbagi; political and law professors Gaber Nassar, Souad Rizk and Abdel-Gelil Moustafa; political activists Ayman Nour, Anwar El-Sadat and Salah Hassaballah; and former Wafdist MPs Mohamed Dawoud, Fouad Badrawi and Ibrahim Kamel.