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Amr Darrag on Egypt's 'perfect' constitution

The secretary-general of the Constituent Assembly defends the draft constitution bringing Egypt to the brink of crisis.
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2012 15:04

Egypt is in crisis - again. President Mohamed Morsi's decree giving himself unlimited powers has brought thousands of Egyptians on to the streets. Morsi says his decree is temporary and aimed at preventing judges of the former dictatorship from disbanding the assembly writing the new constitution.
 
At the heart of the controversy lies the draft constitution.
 
Some groups feel the assembly that has written the current draft is dominated by Muslim groups. Already secularists, leftists, Christians and even the farmer and journalist syndicates have pulled out of the Egyptian Constituent Assembly. Some of them were hoping the courts would order that a new assembly be formed before the draft is issued.
 
Too late. The assembly beat the judges on Friday morning. But it is not game over. It is not clear whether the protests will end even if Morsi's unlimited powers are rescinded. And will people approve a document boycotted by so many factions when it goes to a referendum?
 
And there are questions about the content of the new constitution. Where is it taking the country? What does it say about human rights, the rights of women and minorities and the role of the military and sharia? 
 
Talk to Al Jazeera speaks to Amr Darrag, the secretary-general of the Constituent Assembly, a man who left his engineering background to help draft a new constitution for Egypt.

Asked about the balance of power between the different organs of the Egyptian state and what system he is proposing, he says: "It's not a presidential system and it's not a parliamentary system. It's something in between. But the way we achieved it is that we developed a matrix, a big matrix, with the powers and authorities to be granted to any of the authorities. And we tried as much as possible to achieve the best balance between the powers.

"So now, we have this balance that both the president and the parliament will have to work together in order to come up with a successful government to avoid the parliament to be dissolved or the president having to resign.

"When it comes to civilian-military relationship in countries like Egypt, where the military used to control everything in the country, you need an adequate time to, transitional time, in order to fully transfer to a perfect system .... We need some time in order to shift culture, where ministers are politicians."

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