Egypt Constituent Assembly Approves Draft Constitution
A draft constitution was approved by Islamist allies of President Mohammed Morsi in Egypt on Friday after an all-night session which left out liberals and Christians, sparking mass protest throughout the country. The vote was rushed amid fears that the Supreme Constitutional Court would dissolve the constitutional assembly in an upcoming. Morsi claimed the decree halting court challenges to his decisions was “for an exceptional stage” aimed at speeding up the democratic transition, and “will end as soon as the people vote on the constitution.” The opposition now has to decide whether to boycott the nationwide referendum on the document, which is likely to come mid-December, or to harness public anger against Morsi to reject the draft constitution in the referendum.
“The constitution … cannot be forced through by a constitutional assembly that has lost about a quarter of its 100 members, mainly liberals and women who have walked out in protest,” argued Roger Cohen. “And what about the constitution itself?” asked Jim Maceda. “As it rolls off a government website, it appears to be in every way the expression of a pro-Islamist society about half the nation hoped for, and the other half feared,” he said. “At this tenuous moment, when so much is in the balance, it would be wise for the United States and Western nations to devote intensive care, effort and resources to strengthen the liberal parties and democratic forces in the Arab world,” said Shalom Cohen .