Seventeen members of the National Association for Change and constitutional experts on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the head of Egypt’s military council and legislative leaders to stop a plan for forming the constituent assembly that will draft a new constitution.
Parliament had earlier approved a plan in which half of the assembly would be made up of MP's from within its ranks.
Gaber Gad Nassaar, a constitutional law professor at Cairo University, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the complainants against Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, People’s Assembly Speaker Saad al-Katatny and Shura Council Speaker Ahmed Fahmy.
The lawsuit claims the proposed constituent assembly makeup violates Article 60 of the Constitutional Declaration, specifically the equal opportunity principle, because it allows Parliament to contribute as many members to the assembly as the entire nation.
Included in the legal complaint is the claim that electing half of the assembly from Parliament will “reproduce the regime of ex-President Hosni Mubarak with all of its constitutional defects.”
Parliament’s hegemony over the process of constitution writing, the lawsuit says, violates democratic tradition in constitution drafting.
National Association for Change General Coordinator Abdel Galil Mostafa, media professional Hamdy Qandil, former Democratic Front Party chief Osama al-Ghazaly Harb and constitutional experts Yehia al-Gamal and Mohamed Nour Farahat are among those who signed the complaint.
Some other political figures have also rejected Parliament’s decision to approve the constituent assembly plan.
On Monday, Supply and Social Affairs Minister Gouda Abdel Khaleq criticized the Islamist-dominated Parliament’s control over the process of drafting the constitution.
Presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabbahi demanded that no current MP's serve on the assembly.
Candidate Amr Moussa in a statement Monday demanded a review of the representation percentages, asserting the importance of balance in the assembly to embrace all political groups in Egypt.
The Constitutional Declaration issued in March last year stipulates that Parliament will appoint a 100-member constituent assembly to draft the new constitution, which then must be put to a public referendum no more than 15 days after its completion.
Translated from Al-Masry Al-YoumTags: Cairo University, National Association for Change General Coordinator, constitutional experts