Secular and liberal parties, which won a small percentage of parliamentary seats, want fewer parliamentary members on the constituent assembly to dilute Islamist influence on the constitution-writing process. They would like to see a constituent assembly in which parliamentary members make up only 20 percent, and the others are drawn from different sectors of society. They do not want to change the previous constitution’s article on the role of Islamic law.
Some secular party leaders support a presidential system, wary of giving power to a parliament dominated by Islamists. But they concede that the new constitution is likely to divide power between parliament and the president.
Mohamed Abul Ghar, head of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, says a presidential system, albeit one that places more limits on presidential power, best serves Egypt’s needs for the next decade. Parliamentary systems work best with strong, established parties, he says, which Egypt doesn’t yet have.