Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Egyptian Court Suspends Constitutional Assembly Over Legality of Appointments To It

In Egypt yesterday, Cairo's Administrative Court suspended the newly created 100-member constitutional assembly appointed to draft a new constitution for the country while a panel of judges investigates the legality of the way in which the members were appointed. BBC News and The National report that dissatisfaction with the make-up of the constitutional assembly was growing ever since the two Islamic parties in parliament gave 60 of the seats on the constitution drafting body to Islamists. (However the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party says that only 48 of the assembly's members are Islamists.) Coptic Christians got very few seats. Over 20 members of the constitutional assembly have already withdrawn in protest, including representatives of the Coptic Church and of the prestigious Sunni institution, Al Azhar. Journalists, professors and liberal secular members of parliament are also  among those who have withdrawn. (See prior posting.) Al Azhar had called for a constitution that guarantees freedoms of worship, opinion, scientific research and art and creative expression, and many politicians have endorsed the proposal. (See prior posting.)