“Liberals and leftists accused the two most powerful Islamist parties of packing the assembly with their supporters to ensure a constitution steeped in Islamic ideology,” the Washington Post reports. “The panel [tasked with writing the constitution] has little representation of women or Egypt’s minority Christian community.”
By Leila Fadel
3/26/2012 Egypt (Washington Post) – Egypt’s liberals and leftists vowed Sunday to boycott a crucial body tasked with writing the nation’s constitution, accusing Islamist parties of trying to dominate the process as the country lurched toward a political crisis.
Early Sunday, after a lengthy voting session, the parliament chose the 100-member body that will write the document. The constitution will delineate the powers of the once all-powerful president and the parliament and define the role of religion and minority rights in post-Hosni Mubarak Egypt.
Liberals and leftists accused the two most powerful Islamist parties of packing the assembly with their supporters to ensure a constitution steeped in Islamic ideology. Islamists took more than 70 percent of legislative seats. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party alone has nearly half of the seats in the newly elected parliament.
“We are going to boycott this committee, and we are going to withdraw and let them make an Islamic constitution. We are going to continue struggling for a secular Egypt in the streets,” said Mohammed Abou el Ghar, head of the Social Democratic Party, who was elected to the assembly but has resigned his post. “We agreed that this will be a balanced committee and it will represent all views of Egypt. But as you can see, there is no representation of secular Egypt.”
As agreed by the parliament last week, 50 members were chosen from the parliament and 50 members were chosen from other sectors of society. Ghar and other liberals and leftists said the panel has little representation of women or Egypt’s minority Christian community. Ghar said his party, along with the liberal Free Egyptians and the youth party known as “the Revolution Continues,” all agreed to withdraw from the constitution-writing process. At least eight people had resigned their positions on Sunday and Ghar expected others to follow.