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Archive for Monday, March 19, 2007

Opposition boycotts talks on amendments

March 19, 2007

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— Opposition lawmakers boycotted an opening parliamentary debate Sunday on constitutional amendments they say will further tighten the Egyptian president's grip on power.

More than 100 lawmakers from Egypt's largest Islamist opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other parties refused to attend the session of the 454-seat Parliament because they say the amendments limit judicial monitoring of elections and ban the creation of political parties based on religion - a measure specifically aimed at the Islamic party.

The rights group Amnesty International said the proposed reforms, particularly anti-terrorism statutes they contain, will lead to the "greatest erosion of rights in 26 years."

The proposal will "enrich the long-standing system of abuse under Egypt's state of emergency powers and give the misuse of those powers a bogus legitimacy," Amnesty International said in a statement Saturday.

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