Moussa rejects ‘constitution first’ mantra

Potential presidential candidate Amr Moussa on Sunday criticized calls made by a number of political groups to draft a new constitution before Egypt's parliamentary elections, currently scheduled for September.

During a seminar organized by the Saudi Embassy in Cairo, Moussa said the transitional period must not be extended.

He voiced reservations over the idea of unalterable constitutional articles.

"Should the existence of more important constitutional articles suggest that the rest of the constitution is unimportant?" he asked.

A number of liberal and leftist political groups have called for a consensus among political forces on drafting a new constitution, which, they said, should include unalterable articles handling freedoms and basic rights.

Secular groups fear that Islamists and remnants from the disbanded National Democratic Party will dominate the next parliament, which would be tasked with drafting the new constitution.

“I believe a president should be elected first and then a constitution can be created," Moussa said. "But if a consensus is achieved over putting the constitution in advance, that should be the responsiblity of an elected panel and not a group of individuals."

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