Al-Nour Party has reservations on the article on gender equality drafted by the Constituent Assembly tasked with amending the suspended 2012 constitution, according to party and backup assembly member Salah Abdel Maaboud.
Abdel Maaboud released a statement on Monday where he criticised Article 11, which the assembly preliminarily passed on the same day. The article obliges the state to achieve gender equality and take the necessary measures to ensure women are properly and fairly represented in parliamentary and municipal councils, in a manner consistent with the laws.
Abdel Maaboud rejected the idea of giving women a quota within parliament. He said it opens the door for other minorities to ask for quotes, therefore turning parliament into “a collection of quotas”.
“Gender equality should be restricted in a manner which doesn’t breach Islamic Sharia,” Abdel Maaboud said. He stated that the disputed article was not present in the 2012 constitution. “The 10-member legal experts’ committee pulled it out of the 1971 constitution.”
Abdel Maaboud said the original version of the article, submitted by the legal experts’ committee, preserved gender equality “in a manner which doesn’t breach Islamic Sharia.” He added that the Constituent Assembly nevertheless agreed on removing the final clause, saying that Article 2 already states that the principles of Islamic Sharia are the main source of legislation.
“We disagree with this explanation,” Abdel Maaboud said. “But we will not demolish the entire constitution for one article.”
The article replaces article 10 in the 2012 constitution which referred to family rights in general without specifically referring to gender equality. The article was widely criticised for stating that “the state and society” should be keen on preserving “the Egyptian family’s authentic nature”, fearing it will open the door for groups operating according to the principle of promoting virtue and preventing vice.
The Constituent Assembly began voting on drafted articles last week in closed sessions where no media presence was allowed. Salmawy announced on Saturday that the Assembly had preliminarily passed almost one quarter of constitutional articles; they had been sent to the legal experts’ committee to be reviewed before being finalised by the assembly. The Constituent Assembly is expected to be done with amending the constitution in December.