• March 29, 2012
  • 3 minutes read

Constitutional Scholar Atef Al-Banna: True Democracy Requires Real Conviction

Constitutional Scholar Atef Al-Banna: True Democracy Requires Real Conviction

 Dr. Atef Al-Banna, constitutional scholar and member of the Constituent Assembly to draft the constitution, said that current frenzied debate about the constituent committee, with some claiming that it is not expressive of all the Egyptian people, and some members withdrawing from the new panel, "are gratuitous and unnecessary arguments. The reasons given by those pulling out do not make sense.

“The Constituent Assembly does represent all segments of society: legal communities, trade unionists, workers, farmers, women, Muslims, Christians, and all", he added.

Dr. Al-Banna stressed that what panel protestors now are doing is the result of dissatisfaction with true democracy which requires that we accept the people’s choice, like what’s already been settled in the March 2011 referendum which gave the elected members of parliament the responsibility of selecting the constituent committee to write the constitution.

The constitutional expert strongly criticized what he called “promoting zero-sum politics, and claiming that the constitution is what creates state institutions – as some media outlets have been saying, while in fact, the constitution regulates the work of institutions”.

Dr. Atef Al-Banna added that both chambers of parliament exercised their right to elect the Constituent Assembly with complete impartiality, but wondered why anyone should imagine that the minority must replace the majority.

Further, Dr. Al-Banna rejected the idea of forming parallel committees for writing the Constitution, pointing out that this violates constitutional and legal legitimacy. He added that the dispute over the new constitution pertains to only a couple of articles, pointing that the absence of real disputes over most articles of the constitution allows for harmony and broad consensus.

Moreover, the constitutional scholar explained that such hoped for harmony, compatibility and consensus do not necessarily mean a 100% unanimous decision, but that discussions, however, can reconcile differences and bring views closer. He reiterated that the majority of Constitution articles are not in dispute.