• 15:07
  • Thursday ,08 March 2012

Parliament solicits public opinion on constituent assembly makeup

By-Almasry Alyoum

Home News


Wednesday ,07 March 2012

Parliament solicits public opinion on constituent assembly makeup

 A joint parliamentary committee will meet Saturday to discuss proposals submitted by MPs, institutions and citizens regarding criteria for the formation of the constituent assembly that will write Egypt’s new constitution, MENA reported.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the joint committee — which includes members from the general committees of both houses of Parliament — complained about not receiving any proposals from citizens or the Judges Club. The committee said it has received 55 proposals in two days, all of which were submitted by MPs and party members.
The committee asked the media to inform citizens that they have the right to submit ideas until Thursday afternoon.
The makeup of the constituent assembly has sparked widespread controversy, particularly because Article 60 of the Constitutional Declaration is widely viewed as ambiguous. The article states very generally that Parliament should elect 100 people to write the constitution.
Secular and liberal powers have also expressed fears that Parliament’s Islamist majority will dominate the constitution drafting process.
Independent MP Amr Hamzawy on Tuesday submitted his proposal that the assembly should include 35 members of both houses allocated by party. Hamzawy distinguishes between three groups of MPs: those who belong to the top eight parties with the largest number of seats in Parliament, those who belong to parties with weaker representation in Parliament, and independent MPs.
Hamzawy said the Freedom and Justice Party should have 15 members, Nour Party 7 members and the Wafd Party three members. The Egyptian Social Democratic, Free Egyptians, Construction and Development, Wasat, and Reform and Development parties should each have one member, he said. Remaining parties should contribute three members combined, and the remaining two slots will be reserved for independent MPs, according to his plan.
Parliament’s elected members will then have to elect the remaining members of the constituent assembly from among nominations from the Supreme Council for Universities, trade unions, professional syndicates, religious institutions, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and the high council of police, as well as Egyptian diplomats and other public figures suggested by parties in Parliament.
Judge Mahmoud al-Khodairy, an MP from Alexandria who heads the People's Assembly Legislative Affairs Committee, suggested that the constiuent assembly include 20 percent MPs and 20 percent jurists from outside the Parliament. The rest of the members should be experts from unions, associations, or minorities to guarantee representation of all segments of society, he added.
Last week, Coptic activists requested representation in the constituent assembly be commensurate with their percentage of the population, not of Parliament.
The Democratic Front Party suggested political parties represented in Parliament get 30 members on the assembly, but did not stipulate that they should be MPs.