Egypt parliament meets to set constitution rules
Cairo, March 17, 2012
Egypt's parliament met on Saturday to decide on the criteria for selecting members of a 100-person assembly charged with writing a new constitution, a process crucial for charting out the future of democracy in the country.
The constitution will define the balance of power between the army-backed executive and parliament following the toppling of autocratic President Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising in February 2011.
The constituent assembly will decide the extent of presidential powers, which parliament wants to curb, and the sensitive issue of the role of Islamic law in Egyptian laws and society.
The document will also outline the future political role of the military, which has been in power since the fall of Mubarak.
Under an interim constitution, parliament is responsible for picking the 100-strong assembly that will write the new constitution, replacing the one that helped keep Mubarak in power for three decades and was a cornerstone of his rule.
The upper and lower houses of parliament, meeting in joint session on Saturday, will first vote on whether members of the constituent assembly will come from inside or outside the parliament or include a mixture of both.
The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), which controls most seats in the joint session, wants 50 members of the assembly to be from parliament and the remaining 50 to include legal and constitutional experts and unions members, FJP lawmaker Hussein Ibrahim said on Saturday.
The FJP had earlier said it wanted only 40 members to be appointed from within parliament.
The two houses will meet again on March 24 to choose which parliamentary members will be appointed to the assembly. – Reuters