Egyptian figures proposing initiatives to restore democracy

Prominent Egyptian politicians, scholars and thinkers have been proposing initiatives which seek to enable the restoration of democracy amid ongoing protests and military intervention

Egyptian figures proposing initiatives to restore democracy

World Bulletin/News Desk

A host of Egyptian intellectuals, politicians and activists on Thursday unveiled an initiative aimed at 'restoring' democracy in Egypt following the ouster early this month of elected President Mohamed Morsi.

The initiative lays down five steps to restore the democratic process in Egypt – based on the 2012 constitution – and resolve the ongoing political crisis.

It proposes delegating presidential authority to an interim transitional government, which would immediately call for parliamentary polls.

Following elections, a "permanent" government would be drawn up and assume executive power.

Under the terms of the initiative, early presidential elections would be held in accordance with the constitution.

Necessary measures will also be taken to amend the national charter and achieve national reconciliation based on the constitution.

"This scenario aims to protect the gains of the January 2011 revolution against attempts to tarnish it… and relies on political and constitutional mechanisms – elections and referendums – as tools to express the popular will," read a statement that accompanied the initiative.

The initiative was signed by a host of dignitaries, including Hasan al-Shafae, adviser to Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb; legal expert Tareq al-Beshri; Islamist scholar and former presidential candidate Mohamed Selim al-Awa; and prominent intellectual Mohamed Emara.

Signatories also include political analyst Hisham Gaafar, sociologist Ibrahim al-Bayoumi and political science professor Heba Raouf Ezzat, among others.

Former PM unveils initiative aimed at resolving Egypt crisis

Former premier Hisham Qandil on Thursday unveiled an initiative aimed at resolving Egypt's ongoing political crisis, triggered early this month by the military's ouster of elected President Mohamed Morsi.

Qandil's three-point initiative is based on "a commitment to legitimacy and listening to the people's voice at every step."

It calls for easing tensions between all parties, agreeing on principles aimed at fostering national reconciliation, and discussing a new roadmap for Egypt's short-term political future.

In video footage aired by Al Jazeera's live Egypt channel, Qandil said that the first phase of the initiative called for the release of all those detained since June 30; freezing all legal cases against politicians; allowing a delegation to visit the detained ousted president; ceasing all media incitement; and temporarily halting all political demonstrations.

The second phase of the initiative, he said, calls for working to preserve Egypt's unity, giving the people a chance to express their positions, and preventing the collapse of state institutions.

The third phase of Qandil's initiative calls for discussions over a new roadmap out of the current crisis, a commitment to constitutional legitimacy and listening to the people at every step.

Qandil said that Morsi had unveiled a plan similar to that unveiled later by army chief and Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.

"But al-Sisi added two additional articles: the president's ouster and suspending the constitution," Qandil noted.

Qandil added that Morsi had been keen to build democratic institutions in Egypt and expedite the process of national development.

He said that the ousted president had shown flexibility regarding a proposed referendum on whether he should complete his four-year term as president.

"But he believed the time wasn't right for holding the referendum in light of the current state of polarization, preferring to hold it after parliamentary elections," he said.

Egyptian scholar proposes delegation of president's authority to PM

Egyptian Islamic scholar Mohamed Selim al-Awa has unveiled an initiative to solve Egypt's political crisis and urged army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi to withdraw his call for mass protests on Friday to authorize him to "confront violence and terrorism."

In a televised speech on Thursday, al-Awa said his initiative is based on the constitution that was approved in a popular referendum last year.

He proposed delegating the president's authority to the prime minister and hold fresh presidential election in 90 days.

Awa urged the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies, the Presidency and the Armed Forces to accept the initiative and agree on a prime minister to solve the crisis.

Egypt has been in the throes of political crisis since the army ousted elected president Mohamed Morsi on July 3 following mass protests against his regime.

The army also suspended the constitution and installed Adly Mansour, the head of Egypt's constitutional court, as interim president under a roadmap for the upcoming transitional phase.

Defiant Morsi supporters have since been staging daily demonstrations and sit-ins nationwide to defend his democratic legitimacy and demand his reinstatement.

On Wednesday, army chief al-Sisi had urged Egyptians to take to the streets for mass Friday protests to "authorize" him to "confront violence and terrorism."

Morsi supporters are also preparing for mass rallies on Friday as part of an ongoing campaign against what they view as a "military coup against constitutional legitimacy."

Al-Awa urged the army chief to withdraw his call for the Egyptians to take to the streets on Friday.

"Having millions of Egyptians in the streets will not give al-Sisi authorization to 'confront terrorism'," al-Awa asserted on Thursday.

Last Mod: 26 Temmuz 2013, 09:38
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