Dr. Huda Ghaneya, member of the Constituent Assembly (CA) entrusted with drafting the new Constitution, said that the CA’s Basic Components Committee, Wednesday evening, finalized the wording of Article I, resolving some of points of contention.
The committee kept the terms referring to Shura (Consultation) and African affiliation, so the text of the article reads: "The Republic of Egypt is an Arab democratic consultative constitutional modern state, based on the separation of powers and the principle of citizenship, is part of the Arab and Islamic nation, and is affiliated with the African Continent."
In a press statement, Dr. Ghaneya added that a new article was also completed on the Independence of Al-Azhar, with all CA members agreeing Al-Azhar is the only reference on Islamic matters in the country, that it must be an independent authority with its own government-independent budget. The law must determine how to select its Grand Imam, according to the law deemed most appropriate by the majority of Al-Azhar scholars.
For his part, Justice Magid Shebeita, member of the State Council and the CA, explained that the goal of adding the word ‘Shura’ or ‘consultative’ is to emphasize the participation of all authorities of the State in its public policy, so that no authority would grab all power for itself alone.
The Administrative Court yesterday decided to accelerate the process for a lawsuit threatening to dissolve the CA so it should be considered on July 17 instead of next September.
Meanwhile, observers have affirmed that bringing forward the case is a political decision intended to thwart the authoring of the new constitution, after it became clear current CA is capable of completing the drafting of the new constitution during the month of Ramadan (starting July 20), which would deprive the military council (SCAF) of forming a ‘loyal’ constitution-writing panel that would tailor Articles to legalize their power grab and total control of the country.