Egypt Islamists plan mass rally against charter

CAIRO (AFP) — Egyptian Islamists will hold a mass rally on Friday to protest a government draft of a basic constitution they say should be left to an elected parliament, a leading Islamist group announced on Wednesday.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s best organized movement, said on its website it would hold the rally after the government went ahead with its plan to draft overarching constitutional principles.

The principles, which would bind a panel appointed by parliament that Islamists hope to dominate, were demanded by liberal and secular groups. A three-stage parliamentary election will start on November 28.

The government’s draft drew fire from most quarters for including clauses that removed the ruling military’s budget from parliamentary oversight and allowed the military final say on military-related laws.

The government revised the draft, but the Islamists, who organized a mass protest in July against such a charter, have rejected the very idea of a document that would limit parliament’s authority to draft the constitution.

“The cabinet is clinging on to undemocratic articles, so we have no choice but to stage a million person march to defend democracy on Friday,” the Brotherhood said.

The Brotherhood, through its Freedom and Justice Party, may emerge as the largest bloc in the election, the first since an uprising ousted president Hosni Mubarak in February.

The military, which took charge after Mubarak’s ouster and suspended the constitution and parliament, says it will hand over power once a president is elected.

( / 16.11.2011)

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