Egypt’s new charter may ban religious political parties

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Egypt’s new draft constitution may ban the formation of political parties based on religious grounds, the state-owned Al Ahram Online reported on Monday.

The committee tasked with amending the new constitution was requested by “more than 400 political, economic and social institutions” to write the ban into the constitution as a way of “safeguarding Egypt against Islamist factions trying to change the civil nature of the country into a religious oligarchy,” the website cited unnamed sources as saying.

The amended 2012 constitution is expected to be announced on Wednesday, said Ali Awad Saleh, head of the constitutional committee and Interim President Adly Mansour’s legal advisor.

Last week, Saleh stated that Article 2 of the 2012 Islamist-backed constitution which states that Islamic Sharia is the main source of legislation will be kept in place “in order to stress the Islamic identity of Egypt.”

Retaining the article is necessary in order to prevent a boycott of the new constitution by Islamic factions, according to the unnamed source.

Additional changes to the constitution include the scrapping of the Shura Council, Egypt’s upper house of parliament which was dissolved early in July, and the regulation of the High Constitutional Court and media institutions.

Additionally, an article in the 2012 constitution preventing officials of ousted former President Hosni Mubarak’s party from seeking political positions will be annulled, according to the source.

Following former President Mohammad Mursi’s overthrow last month, Interim President Adly Mansour created a 10-member committee consisting of six judges and four constitutional law professors.

A second committee, composed of 50 public figures, will then be given 60 days to review the amendments before the constitution is put to a national referendum, which will then be followed by parliamentary elections.

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