CAIRO, (Reuters) – Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood will protest with other political groups on Friday against a constitutional proposal to shield the army from parliamentary oversight, the group said on Wednesday.
The group said the mass rally would be the first in a series of protests aimed at pressuring the cabinet to withdraw draft plans it said could allow the army to defy the elected civilian government.
Negotiations have broken down between Islamists, liberals and the government over principles giving the army exclusive authority over its internal affairs and budget.
“We negotiated with the cabinet, which insisted on clinging to non-democratic principles, leaving us with no alternative but to join the mass protest to protect democracy,” the Brotherhood said in a statement.
The army’s role in the new constitution will define the next phase of a power struggle between Islamists, liberals and the military in post-revolutionary Egypt, after decades of strongman rulers.
The Brotherhood, whose Freedom and Justice Party is expected to win many seats in the new parliament, will join Salafist Party al-Nour and youth protest groups organising the rally.
The cabinet released the proposal earlier this month ahead of a critical parliamentary vote on Nov. 28, prompting parties to accuse the government, and the ruling generals behind the initiative, of hindering the electoral process.
Politicians and democracy activists said the new parliament would be undermined unless the army submitted to a civilian president to replace ousted President Hosni Mubarak.
The proposal “has ignited a dangerous crisis in Egyptian political society for containing articles that rob the people’s sovereignty … representing a coup against the the principles and aims of the January 25 revolution,” the Brotherhood said.
A co-founder of the liberal Justice Party, Mustafa Naggar, said negotiations broke down after the cabinet met the military council and then insisted on not amending articles related to the army.
“We amended the controversial articles nine and ten which enshrine the army’s role in the constitution. The cabinet met with the military council and then came back and said they insisted on keeping article nine as is,” Naggar said.