CAIRO, October 6, 2013 — On Friday October 4, 2013 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood took to the streets immediately after the prayers in different governorates of Egypt.
In Cairo, supporters failed to reach Tahrir square after the army fired warning shots and tear gas to disperse the rally and to prevent them from crossing a bridge which leads to Tahrir. Confrontations between supporters and opponents of Brotherhood resulted in 4 deaths.
The interim government is challenged by political, economic instability. Although Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the U.A.E pledged $12 billion to boost the economy, it has so far had little impact. Over 40% of the population continues to live under the poverty line. The government attempted to revive a 1945 law to control the market prices, yet it so far has failed to stop sales of fruits and vegetables on the black market.
Another challenge that faces the interim government is the attacks in the Sinai by militant groups and the fear that such terrorist groups might spread beyond the Sinai. Last month, a Sinai terrorist group claimed responsibility for a failed suicide bombing attack on the minister of interior.
In Al Ahram newspaper, Abdel Nasser Salama wrote that “the Egyptian universities are endangered as a result of the daily demonstrations and that students are liable to get injured or even killed.” In Egypt there are 20 state universities and 21 private universities and over 2 million students.
Although the interim government assigned a 50-member committee to amend the suspended constitution of 2012, several members argue that they must draft a completely different constitution which represents the true Egyptian society. The 2012 constitution sparked the political turmoil that ultimately led to the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. Morsi granted himself broad powers beyond judicial review which enviably ignited political unrest, street fighting between Islamist and non Islamist factions.
The current constitutional committee is believed to be more representative of the Egyptian society. According to article 29, the committee must represent the different groups within society including different political parties, intellectuals, workers, the Sunni institution of Al Azhar, the Orthodox Coptic church, the police, the army and 10 youth groups including the activists of the Tamarod Movement, and 10 women.
Unfortunately, several articles are disputed by different members of the committee. The El Nour Salafist party insists that the 30 June roadmap entrusted the 50 members with only amending the 2012 constitution rather than writing a new one. El Nour leader Mansour also rejects the use of the term “civil state”. In a press conference this week, the committee spokesperson Mohamed Salmawy said that a legal committee had been formed to decide on whether the 8 July declaration should be amended to clarify whether the job of the committee is to amend the 2012 constitution or to write a new constitution.
Amidst such hard challenges the interim government calls upon the people’s support to break any future obstacles in the new roadmap.
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