Last updated: 3 March, 2012

Egypt lawmakers to appoint constitutional panel March 24

Egypt’s parliament and senate will appoint a panel to draft a new constitution on March 24, the speaker said on Saturday, in what will likely be a tug of war between the dominant Islamists and liberals.

Members of both houses will hold several joint sessions to discuss the criteria for choosing the 100-member panel before appointing the committee on March 24, Saad al-Katatni said.

The constitution will replace the one suspended by the ruling generals when they assumed power following an uprising that overthrew president Hosni Mubarak a year ago.

Islamists, who won a majority in both houses, are believed to want to dominate the panel, which has placed them at odds with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and liberals.

The military, which has suggested it would like the new constitution to give it privileges after it hands the reins of government to an elected president this year, has promised to allow parliament to appoint the panel.

But both the SCAF and liberals are believed to want to influence the criteria for constitutional panel members, to ensure that it is not dominated by any one group.