Islamists as well as other political parties have continued their fervent opposition to a proposal by Deputy Prime Minister Ali El Selmi earlier this month, and have promised to stage massive protests on Friday, November 18 if their demands are not met.
El-Selmi's proposed charter of constitutional principles has triggered condemnation for the powers it gives the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), overriding an elected government.
According to the proposed charter, the new parliament will elect the 100-member constituent assembly, which will consist of 80 members from outside the parliament and 20 elected MPs reflecting the percentage of seats won by their parties.
However, SCAF has the power to veto any article it deems contradictory to the principles of previous constitutions and the interim constitutional declaration instated on March 30, 2011. SCAF would then refer the contentious article to the Supreme Constitutional Court for a final decision.
In case the assembly fails to draft the constitution within the set six-month timeframe, SCAF will have the power to dissolve it and appoint a new assembly.
Egypt's generals have ridden a rollercoaster journey through respect and affection during the Tahrir Square demonstrations to a state of suspicion and contempt now. The good will the army once enjoyed is virtually non-existent now; in the view of the demonstrators the military betrayed the Tahrir Revolution and reverted to the tactics of Egyptian strongmen dictators.
Meanwhile, the newspaper Ahram English Online has published a chronology of the SCAF's "brief history of injustice" during its tenure as the ruling power in Egypt. It outlines a number of "crimes against human rights" that the SCAF has vowed to investigate. At the top of the list is the violence in Maspero last month, in which the army has been implicated. The article also notes that despite the military's promise to investigate, there have yet to be any significant arrest over many of the abuses. The violations include torture, vandalism of churches, violence against protesters and corruption.
The army's position is that its actions have been necessary to maintain law and order and prevent the post-revolutionary euphoria from morphing into