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Moussa: Constitution doesn't exclude

January 15th, 2014
03:00 PM ET

Egypt's military-backed government is being put to the test, as voting on their new constitution continues. So far proceedings have been marred with unrest. At least nine people have died in clashes between supporters of ousted president Morsy and government security forces.

Veteran diplomat and former Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Moussa headed the commission that drafted the constitution. Yesterday Becky asked him how he answers critics who say that the only thing this constitution does is legitimizes the very powerful and unquestioned position of the army in Egypt today.

"The clause about the defense minister will be deleted, because it is only for eight years and two presidential periods. If the progress that you are talking about and we are hoping for and working to achieve produces results it is certain that this clause will cease to exist. It is because of the circumstances prevailing in Egypt."

In an opinion piece in the New York Times Moussa claimed that his committee of 50 gave everyone a seat at the table, and that an invitation was extended to all Islamic groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

In response to her question about the impossibility of the Muslim Brotherhood being involved in the process when their organisation has been banned, Moussa replied; "Let me tell you that the constitution does not exclude any group, any individual, any citizen. The constitution caters to all Egyptians from all walks of life. Muslim Brotherhood members can run for a seat in the parliament, or field candidates in parliamentary elections or presidential elections. The constitution differs sharply from the previous one, which was called the 'Muslim Brotherhood constitution' that it excluded, it banned members of the previous regime from participating, from running for parliament, from running for elections."

Moussa also confirmed that if General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ran for Egyptian president he would support him. "I really believe that he is going to run but I cannot tell you that he has told me so. But all indications lead to that and let us see within the next few days or a week or so what kind of decision he is going to take. First of all he has to resign his post as Commander-in-Chief."

Observers are watching to see if participation is above 33%, that's the percentage of voters who turned out for the former Islamist backed constitution.

Voting is scheduled to finish at 21:00 local time (19:00 GMT), although it remains unclear when results will be announced.

Text: Egypt votes on new constitution, tests legitimacy of military-backed government

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