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Egypt judiciary suspends constitution panel

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 22:17

Cairo: A Cairo court said on Tuesday it had
suspended an Islamists-dominated commission that had been
tasked with drafting the country`s new constitution.

The court, which deals with administrative issues, did
not explain the reasons for its decision which was announced
after lawyers and liberal political parties filed a complaint
accusing the Islamists-majority parliament, which formed the
panel, of having abused its powers.

The 100-member panel, which is evenly divided between
parliamentarians and public figures, was elected by the
parliament which also voted for a number of reserve candidates
who could replace the panelists.

But most of its members are from the Muslim Brotherhood
and Salafi fundamentalists who hold the majority among MPs and

The secular parties have already withdrawn from the
commission, believing that their presence was only used as
collateral for the Islamists to draft a basic law that
reflects their political-religious ideologies.

The prestigious Sunni Islamic institution, Al-Azhar, and
the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt have also decided to
boycott the panel.

Islamists believe that the commission must reflect the
composition of a parliament where the Muslim Brotherhood holds
nearly half the seats and the Salafists almost a quarter.

The secularists urge for a more balanced commission,
fearing that the Islamist grip does not lead to the
strengthening of a demand for Islamic law sharia to be the
point of reference in the legislation.

The panel has in principle up to six months to draft a
new constitution to replace the one suspended by the military,
which took power after a popular uprising toppled president
Hosni Mubarak last year.


First Published: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 22:17
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