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Egypt parties vow to protect freedoms in constitution.

Egyptian political parties and religious figures agreed on January 11 to protect civic freedoms in a new constitution, but steered clear of more contentious questions about the future of the nation after the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak. The principles were approved at a meeting sponsored by al-Azhar, Egypt's prestigious seat of Sunni Muslim learning and attended by senior Coptic Christian clerics, Islamic scholars, Islamists, liberals and youth activists. The meeting, which was also attended by army-picked Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri, was partly called as a show of unity before January 25, the anniversary of the revolt that toppled Mubarak. The principles, read out by al-Azhar grand imam, Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, including "completing the goals of the revolution" and guaranteeing freedoms.

"There was complete consensus between all national powers on (the fact) that all Egyptians are equal in rights and duties ... no one can dominate anything in Egypt," Mohamed Abul Ghar, head of the liberal Egyptian Social Democratic Party, said. The head of Islamist al-Nour party, Emad Abdel Ghaffour, said the document provided only a general agreement. His party is trailing the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party in Egypt's parliamentary poll. Islamists, who will dominate the new parliament, are expected to seek to strengthen the role of legislative body in the constitution and rein in the president's powers. The document committed to stick to the army timeline for a presidential vote in June.
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Publication:The Weekly Middle East Reporter (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:7EGYP
Date:Jan 13, 2012
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