Islamist Nour Party Walks Out Of Egypt’s Constitution Talks
Bassam al-Zarka - YOUM7 (Archive)
Reuters, Cairo

Egypt’s second biggest Islamist party on Monday walked out of a committee amending the constitution, to protest against moves to curb the influence of Islam in state affairs.

The Salafist al-Nour party, which backed the army’s overthrow of the more moderate Islamist Mohamed Mursi from the presidency in July, said it was not quitting the committee but wanted to show its anger.

Amending the constitution pushed through by Mursi last year is part of the plan to return Egypt to elections after the army ousted the government on July 3, installing an interim administration.

Bassam al-Zarka, deputy head of Nour, left Monday’s meeting but had not quit the 50-member committee, Shabaan Abel Alem, a party official and former parliamentarian, told Reuters.

“Dr. Bassam had suggestions about the articles related to Islamic identity but was surprised to find his opinion not even written in the session’s minutes and completely ignored.”

Nour remained on the committee, he said, and would continue to press its point of view.

“We had reservations about the committee and its improper representation of the state’s powers from the start, yet we decided to join as we are pro-negotiations as a way to implement our goals.”

The army’s plan set 60 days for the committee, that started this month, to complete its work. The constitution will then be put to a referendum, leading to elections next year.

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