Constituent Assembly controversy ongoing

There is no resolution in sight for the controversy surrounding the Constituent Assembly’s makeup. The Journalists’ Syndicate has joined the list of groups and members formally withdrawn from the assembly – syndicate leader El-Waly cited the unbalanced nature of the assembly’s composition as the basis for this decision.

The assembly met for a second time on Wednesday, April 4. Assembly chairman Saad El-Katatni announced a deadline of next Wednesday (the next meeting of the assembly) for those members who have withdrawn to return without conditions. This deadline has been overwhelmingly rejected by those members who have stepped down. Most consider their withdrawal to be unconditional and are demanding that the assembly be disbanded and reformed under new guidelines. A number of former members are planning to form an alternate assembly that addresses their concerns about equal representation.

Wednesday’s meeting also saw the draft of assembly bylaws, to be voted on at next week’s meeting. The bylaws call for all Constituent Assembly meetings to be closed door, with no access for the public or press, and include a provision for the creation of a media assembly to be solely responsible for interacting with press and issuing statements. If the bylaws pass with these provisions, this would represent a complete reversal in policy: just last week at the assembly’s first meeting, chairman El-Katatni promised that all meetings would be open to the public as part of the democratic process.

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