Friday, June 8, 2012

Egypt's military solve the deadlock around the constitutional assembly

A protester holds a sign saying that Egyptians did not die for the purpose of the constitution to be written by the Muslim Brotherhood. (Al-Ahram Online)
Egypt's ruling army council SCAF called on Thursday for parliament to meet next week to pick the members of a new constitutional assembly, tasked with drawing up a new constitution. The previous assembly was dissolved by court order after liberals and others quit the body complaining it was dominated by Islamists. The SCAF had on Tuesday given political parties a 48-hour deadline to agree on the make-up of a new assembly, threatening that they would otherwise amend the interim constitution drafted after Mubarak was ousted themselves.
General Mamdouh Shahin said after a meeting lasting more than seven hours on Thursday between 22 parties and the council, that elected members of the upper and lower houses of parliament would meet next Tuesday to elect new assembly members.
Te meeting between the SCAF and the parties followed a earlier lengthy meeting between the parties on Tuesday night, whereby it was agreed that 39 of the 100 seats in the assembly would be designated to political parties, of which the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) will hold 16; the Salafist Nour Party eight; the liberal Wafd Party five; the Free Egyptians Party two; the Egyptian Social Democratic Party two; and one each for the moderate-Islamist Wasat Party, the Nasserist Karama Party, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, the liberal Reform and Development Party and the Islamist Building and Development Party.
It was also agreed that 15 judges, nine religious figures – five from Al-Azhar and four from the Coptic Church – ten public figures, ten revolutionary youth (women and men), seven members of workers and farmers unions, seven members of professional syndicates, a representative from the police, another of the army and one from the Ministry of Justice. The new assembly is said to take decisions about the wording of articles of the constitution by a 67 percent majority or if that is not possible by a 57 percent majority 48 hours later.
Not all of the participants at the meeting of the parties were satisfied. Mohamed Abul-Ghar, head of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party and Egyptian Bloc MPs Emad Gad and Farid Zahran walked out of the meeting as they felt the FJP parliamentarians would take over the assembly. Free Egyptians Party representatives also withdrew from the meeting.

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