MPs to make up half of Egypt assembly
Cairo, March 17, 2012
Egypt's parliament agreed on Saturday that half the members of a 100-person assembly charged with drawing up a new constitution would be chosen from within parliament and the rest from other parts of society.
In a tally broadcast live on television, 427 out 590 deputies in a joint session of the upper and lower houses of parliament voted for a 50-50 division in the constituent assembly that will chart out the future of Egyptian democracy.
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 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 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 Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), which controls most seats in the joint session, said at the beginning of Saturday's session it wanted half of the assembly's members to include legal and constitutional experts and unions members.
It had previously said it wanted 60 members from outside parliament.
The upper and lower houses of parliament will vote later on Saturday on criteria for selecting the 100-member body. The two houses will meet again on March 24 to choose the 50 members who will come from inside parliament. – Reuters