Against the backdrop of millions of protesters in the streets of Egypt and Tahrir Square, Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi went ahead and hastily passed the draft of a constitution Friday, which apparently hasn’t pleased anyone. Neither the judiciary nor the people seem to be convinced about the authenticity of the draft.
An elated representative of the Muslim Brotherhood declared minutes after the last articles of the constitution were passed Friday, "This constitution represents the diversity of the Egyptian people. All Egyptians, male and female, will find themselves in this constitution."
In fact, there isn’t a semblance of diversity in Egypt’s new constitution drafted by Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Apparently, after the draft of Egypt’s new constitution was passed, the anger and frustration of the people has shifted from the decree to the constitution. Opponents of the constitution criticized the new draft as it fails to include the voice of liberals, women, Christians and other minorities.
At its worst, Egypt’s new constitution is a charter with an Islamist tinge that may possibly give Muslim clerics concessions over legislation and bring limitations on freedom of speech, women's rights and other liberties.
The new constitution, if passed by the referendum, would indicate that Egypt is increasing leaning toward Islamic right. As expected, of the 85 members who drafted the articles of the constitution, there was not a single Christian. The constitution in its present form is a clear sign that Islamists have hijacked the process.
Further, the legitimacy of the constitutional assembly has been questioned by a number of court cases which have been demanding its dissolution. Another reason why the assembly hastily went ahead to pass the draft before Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court rules Sunday on whether to dissolve the panel.
The credibility of the assembly has also received a dent with the withdrawal of members which consisted of Church representatives and a group of liberals.
The Muslim Brotherhood, on the other hand, is elated about the new draft and is hopeful that all arguments and disagreements related to the approval of the constitution will be buried in a referendum.
Reacting to the Muslim Brotherhood’s euphoria on the new constitution, Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei mentioned to a TV channel, "I am saddened to see this come out while Egypt is so divided."According to ElBaradei, the defunct constitutional draft “will be a part of the political folklore and will go to the garbage bin of history."
Egypt’s new constitution is a poor representation of the diverse opinions in Egypt that got a push after the Arab Spring. In fact, the constitution has monopolized a particular section of Egypt, laying more emphasis on Sharia law, which may not be beneficial for a stable Egypt.
Morsi’s edicts, followed by the new constitution, will only spark a powerful backlash and may bring in one of the worst moments of turmoil in Egypt’s history.
The present situation in Cairo manifests a test in the separation of powers between Morsi and his Islamist supporters and the courts and opposition parties on the status of the document that shapes the political future of Egypt.
The best option for Morsi is to break the adamant stand of his party and listen to the pulse of the people in the streets of Cairo. Further attempts to stall the opinion of the people with the help of brute force may plunge Egypt into the brink of a civil war.
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