As expected, Egypt’s ad-hoc constitutional panel approved a draft that enraged all but the Islamists on the committee to the extent that they withdrew in protest earlier. The passage of the proposal hasn’t helped Mohamed Morsi this morning, as even clerics denounced him in Friday prayers as a new pharaoh. CNN expects even bigger protests today after Egyptians leave their mosques — and tomorrow will be even more interesting as the Muslim Brotherhood launches counterprotests:
The hasty nature of the call to approve the draft constitution added to Egyptian’s discontent.
The snap vote prompted several walkouts, reducing the number of originally 100 assembly delegates. Those who resigned were replaced by members of the Brotherhood and allied Salafist Nour Party. Eighty-five members approved the draft.
The the rest of the constitutional assembly members took the departing members into consideration when discussing the various articles, said Essam El-Erian, a senior presidential adviser. …
Hundreds of protesters gathered Friday around noon at Tahrir Square, where they held prayers after listening to a cleric brand Islamist President Mohamed Morsy a “pharaoh” over what many feel was an overbearing power grab by the head of state last week.
Well, how bad can the new constitution be? Bad enough to create nostalgia for the 1971 version it will replace:
Critics say the constitution could lead to excessive restrictions on certain rights, moving Egypt closer to Sharia law.
“As far as rights are concerned, the 1971 constitution was much better,” said Dr. Mustapha Kamel Sayed, a Cairo University professor, referring to the old constitution still in place under Mubarak.
Heba Morayef, the Egypt director for Human Rights Watch, said “there aren’t really any protections for women,” for instance.
Morsi will rush this into a plebescite two weeks from tomorrow, which he hopes will not only mollify Egyptians but also head off the judiciary. It might work, but so far it only seems to be setting up another round of revolution in the streets. Morsi took control of the military over the summer, but one has to wonder just how firm that grasp really is — and we may end up seeing that tested before any vote gets held.