Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

DEBATE

Clone of Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part Two)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part One)

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

ENCORE!

Bold and bonkers: Kate Bush is back on stage

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Simon Serfaty, US foreign policy specialist

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'It's a War, Stupid!'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French PM calls on ECB to go further to help economy

Read more

  • UN backs inquiry of IS group’s alleged crimes in Iraq

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • US military targets al Shabaab Islamists in Somalia

    Read more

  • Obama calls for higher wages amid 'revving' US economy

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Paris apartment building blast

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

  • Tripoli under control of militias, says government

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao set for Man Utd loan on transfer deadline day

    Read more

  • Spain orders custody for parents of ill British boy

    Read more

Africa

Islamists dominate panel tasked with drafting Egypt's constitution

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-03-25

Egyptian liberals were scrambling Sunday to block the formation of a panel charged with drafting a new constitution, to which the parliament has appointed a large majority of Islamists. Only six women have been named on the 100-member panel.

AFP - Egypt's parliament has elected an Islamist-dominated panel to draft a new constitution, and liberal activists are scrambling to block the move, state media said Sunday.

Thirty-nine of the 50 lawmakers chosen for the 100-member constituent assembly are Islamists, according to press reports, with Islamists also represented among the remaining 50 members drawn from outside parliament.

Liberal lawmakers had walked out on the vote in the joint parliament and senate session on Saturday, accusing the Islamist majority of trying to dominate the crucial panel.

The new constitution will replace the one annulled by the ruling military which took power after an uprising ousted president Hosni Mubarak last year.

The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the largest in the parliament, has the biggest representation on the panel, followed by the ultra-conservative Salafi Al-Nur party.

Only six women -- three from the parliament and senate and the rest from civil society -- were appointed, along with a handful of Coptic Christians who make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population of about 80 million.

One of the Copts, Rafiq Habib, is a vice president of the FJP whose mother organisation, the Brotherhood, argues that Copts and women may not head a Muslim country.

The 50 people appointed from outside parliament include a member of the ruling military council, a senior Muslim Brotherhood member seen as the group's religious guide, judges, lawyers and an activist who lost both eyes in clashes with police.

The official Al-Ahram newspaper reported on its website that the Islamists had the support of almost 40 percent of panel members elected from outside parliament and about 75 percent of its lawmakers.

The assembly is due to hold its first meeting on Wednesday, as a secular leaning group, the National Association for Change, and others pressed a court to annul the vote that elected the panel.

On Saturday, Coptic tycoon Naguib Sawiris, who founded the largest liberal party in parliament, bitterly condemned the process and announced his Free Egyptians Party members had walked out of the vote.

"It's ridiculous," he said. "A constitution being written by one force and one force alone. We tried our best but there was no use."

Two other parties had boycotted the vote from the start, including the leftwing Tagammu.

The liberals and leftists fear the Islamists will try to beef up references to their religion in the new charter.

"The constitution should not reflect the majority, it should reflect all forces in society," said Tagammu head Rifaat al-Said.

"There is an attempt to posses everything," he said of his party's Islamist opponents. "Possessing the constitution is the most dangerous thing."

According to a military schedule, the panel was meant to finish the new constitution before a presidential election, but that now seems unlikely with the poll scheduled for May.

Date created : 2012-03-25

  • EGYPT

    MPs withdraw from vote on Egypt's constitutional panel

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    Egypt's Copts hold funeral for Pope Shenuda III

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    Egypt charges police chief over deadly stadium riot

    Read more

COMMENT(S)