Ultimatum ends panel row in Egypt

Ultimatum ends panel row in Egypt

Egypt’s political parties have agreed on the formation of a commission tasked with drafting a new Constitution, after the military gave a two-day deadline to finalize the formation.

The agreement was struck at a meeting between representatives of various political parties on June 7, including Islamists who dominate Parliament, and Egypt’s military ruler, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the sources said.

At the end of the meeting, Tantawi called for a joint meeting of the lower and upper houses of parliament to take place on June 12, in order to elect the 100 members who will sit on the Constitutional panel, according to Agence France-Presse. 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.

Four seat to Christians

Another six seats will go to judges, while nine will be filled by experts in law, and one each for the armed forces, the police and the justice ministry.

Four seat will go to Christian churches in Egypt, including the country’s largest, the Coptic Church.

The agreement comes after Egypt’s ruling military council threatened June 5 to issue its own blueprint if parties failed to come up with one within 48 hours. At the meeting, political parties also agreed that in the future any decision taken by the panel must be endorsed by 67 percent of the body, an apparent move to ensure that Islamists will not have the upper hand, the delegates said.