Egypt Parl selects constitution panel dominated by hardliners

Egyptian Parliament chose a 100-member Constituent Assembly dominated by religious hardliners from Muslim Brotherhood.

Cairo: Egyptian Parliament on Sunday chose a
100-member Constituent Assembly dominated by religious
hardliners from Muslim Brotherhood, to draft a post-Mubarak
era Constitution.

The new Constitution will determine who will run the
country in the future and what will be the role of military,
which is currently running the government after former
president Hosni Mubarak was ousted last year in a popular

"This is a historic day for Egypt. We have taken the
first step on the road to writing the constitution," Egyptian
People`s Assembly Speaker Saad al-Katatny said.
"Since the first day, we have pledged not to be biased to
a certain opinion. We will not accept giving up on democracy
and popular participation."

Half of the members of the panel have been elected from
Parliament`s upper and lower houses and the remaining half
from outside including professionals, judges, political
scientists, poets, and others.

Of the 50 lawmakers selected by parliament`s two
chambers, 37 are Islamists. The other 50, also selected by
lawmakers, include majority of Islamists.

Mostafa Bakry, who supervised the vote-counting process,
said the election was conducted in a quiet atmosphere and was
characterised by integrity. He said the Constituent Assembly`s
first meeting will be held on March 28.

The old 1971 Constitution was suspended after the
uprising that ousted longtime Mubarak. The new Constitution
will be put to a vote in a national referendum. Egyptian
liberal MPs withdrew from the parliament vote to appoint the

Members from the Free Egyptians Party, the Revolution
Continues Coalition and the Egyptian Social Democratic Party
abandoned the talks, expressing fears that Islamist, who swept
to victory in parliamentary and senate elections after
Mubarak`s downfall, dominate the assembly.

The Muslim Brotherhood`s Freedom and Justice Party and
Salafis recently won about two-thirds of parliamentary seats
in the first election since the ouster of Mubarak.