Egypt to Attempt Constitutional Assembly Yet Again
Speaker Saad El-Katatni announced Saturday that parliament will try again Tuesday to form a 100 member constitutional assembly. This follows the failure of Wednesday’s constitutional assembly agreement under the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces’s 48 hour deadline. The majority-Islamist body created under that agreement prompted non-Islamist members to walk out in protest. Katatni said that parliament will seek to create an assembly representative of “all powers and interests” in Egypt.
Meanwhile, protests continued in Tahrir Square calling for the disqualification of presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq. Many are also contesting last week’s verdict in the trial of ousted president Hosni Mubarak. However, some 200 people began another protest Saturday calling for Mubarak’s transfer from prison to a hospital following reports of the former president’s ailing health. The pro-Mubarak demonstrators vowed to remain in front of the Prison Authority until he is transferred.
Also, as Egyptian expatriates finish voting abroad this weekend, voting data showed no significant drop in voter turnout due to boycotts. Around 260,000 Egyptians living abroad have voted in the second round of the election, compared to 305,000 during the first round.
Additionally, Omar Ashour argues that last week’s verdicts in the Mubarak trial has severe consequences in the transition going forward. Ashour believes that the verdict will solidify perceptions of the judiciary as biased, will reinforce a “culture of impunity” among security services, and will empower anti-reform factions in the Interior Minister, thus making reform that much more difficult.