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Egyptian secular parties withdraw from Constituent Assembly

(Xinhua)

14:56, March 28, 2012

CAIRO, March 27 (Xinhua) -- Some Egyptian liberal and leftist parties announced on Tuesday that they withdrew from the Constituent Assembly which was formed Saturday to draft Egypt's new constitution.

At a press conference in the capital Cairo, Free Egyptians Party, Egyptian Social Democratic Party, National Progressive Unionist Party (Tagammu party) and Popular Alliance party announced their objection to the way of choosing Constituent Assembly members in the absence of fair standards, the official MENA news agency reported.

The liberal and leftist parties slammed the Islamists who dominate the parliament, accusing the Islamists of neglecting the proposals on Constituent Assembly submitted by the minority in the parliament.

The parties called for public actions to cancel the decision of forming the Constituent Assembly until fair standards are established to select the assembly's members.

The People's Assembly (lower house of the parliament) and the Shura Council (the upper house) held on Saturday a joint meeting to choose the 100-member assembly.

Meanwhile, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces ( SCAF) Hussein Tantawi talked with some political parties on Tuesday, urging them to reach an agreement on the Constituent Assembly.The meeting was attended by the Chief of Staff Sami Annan and chairmen of certain parties, such as FJP chairman Mohammed Mosri, Nour Party chairman Emad Abdel Ghafour and al-Wafd chairman Sayyed El Badawi.

In an explanatory statement issued Tuesday, FJP's representation did not exceed 30 percent of the Constituent Assembly. The proportion of representation, namely 50 members from the parliament and 50 from the outside, was voted for by a majority of 86 percent at a joint meeting of two houses on March 17.

The FJP and the Nour Party jointly contributed 58 members to the constituent assembly, according to the Daily News Egypt.

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