Egypt elects panel on Constitution

Egypt elects panel on Constitution

Egypt elects panel on Constitution

Members of the Egyptian Parliament elect constituent assembly members. EPA Photo

Egypt’s parliament on June 12 elected a commission tasked with drafting the country’s new constitution, while liberals boycotted a parliament session on the issue complaining that Islamists are trying to dominate the process. A joint session of the upper and lower houses of parliament elected the 100 members who will sit on the constitutional panel, though their names were not immediately made public, Agence France-Presse reported.

 The agreement to elect the representatives to the key body was struck last week at a meeting between members of political parties, including Islamists who dominate parliament, and Egypt’s military ruler, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi.

A court ruling disbanded a previous panel that was packed with Islamists. Liberal lawmakers say the Islamists were again seeking to dominate the new panel, and have filed a court case to declare the body illegal, the Associated Press reported. The voting for the panel members went ahead without the estimated 60 lawmakers who walked out. The joint session included more than 600 lawmakers.

Islamists are giving their lawmakers more seats than agreed and devising a selection process that would give their supporters some of the seats assigned to other groups.

According to delegates who attended the meeting, it was agreed that 39 seats would be allocated to representatives of the political parties within the People’s Assembly, or lower house of parliament which is dominated by Islamists.

 Another six seats were to go to judges, while nine would be filled by experts in law, and one each for the armed forces, the police and the justice ministry. Professional unions were to get 13 seats while public figures who were to be chosen at Tuesday’s joint meeting would be given a total of 21 seats.

Meanwhile, ousted President Hosni Mubarak’s condition has stabilized but his lawyer Farid el-Deeb said the 84-year old former president does not trust his doctors in the prison hospital and fears they are out to kill him. “‘I’m uncomfortable and I don’t feel safe. I feel they are ordered to kill me,’” el-Deeb quoted Mubarak as saying.