To accommodate Islamists, govt may amend constitutional document

A cabinet source has said that the government intends to amend Deputy Prime Minister Ali al-Selmy’s constitutional principles document to accommodate reservations expressed by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist forces.

The Islamists had threatened to hold a demonstration on Friday to demand the document’s withdrawal.

The source also said Selmy met on Monday with Sami Annan, vice president of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, to discuss reservations on articles 9 and 10 of the document.

The source added that the document would be binding when the political forces agree to it, even if Islamist groups insisted on rejecting it.

For his part, Yousry Hammad, spokesman of the Salafi Nour Party, said secret talks took place between the Islamist forces and the military council over the document. He denied that the council threatened them against holding the demonstration.

Hammad accused the liberals and secularists of trying to drive a wedge between the Islamists and the council.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, the leader of the coalition, said it would participate in the demonstrations.

The coalition had met with representatives of certain political forces on Sunday and issued a statement that gave the military council an ultimatum of 72 hours to withdraw the document.

“Though we have accepted it, the statement was not firm enough,” said Tarek al-Zomor, member of the Jama’a al-Islamiya Shura Council. “We don’t want people to think we have abandoned the demonstration.”

Mohamed al-Qassas, member the Islamist Egyptian Trend Party, also considered the statement weak, and called for exerting pressure on the military council and the government to withdraw the document.

Also, Haitham Abu Khalil, co-founder of the Islamist Ryada Party, threatened what he called “rage” against the military council if it did not withdraw the document, and called on the Wafd Party to freeze Selmy’s membership for preparing it.

Ahmed Abu Baraka, legal adviser to the Freedom and Justice Party, denied that the statement was weak in any way, and confirmed the party’s participation in the demonstration.

“The statement led Selmy to say the document was advisory and not obligatory, and decide to amend articles 9 and 10,” Abu Baraka said, adding that his party seeks to build and not destroy.

Wahid Abdel Meguid, head of the coalition’s follow-up committee, said certain forces would agree to the document if those two articles were changed, while others want to get rid of it altogether.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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