Egypt names key constitution panel with few Islamists

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September 1, 2013 20:56
1 minute read.

CAIRO - Egypt's army-backed government unveiled a constituent assembly on Sunday almost devoid of Islamists, and gave it 60 days to review amendments that would erase Islamic articles brought in by the Muslim Brotherhood and more hardline Islamic parties.

The constitutional review is part of a road map unveiled by the administration that took power after the army deposed President Mohamed Morsi on July 3.

Egypt will hold parliamentary and presidential elections only once the constitution is approved in a referendum.

Reflecting a power shift as the government cracks down on the Brotherhood, accusing it of terrorism, the changes proposed in a first draft of the constitution may open the way for a comeback by some members of the old order associated with Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled in a popular revolt in 2011.

The proposed amendments would remove Islamic articles - hotly disputed by secularists - that include one that gave Muslim scholars a say over some affairs of state, and also lift a ban on some Mubarak-era officials assuming public office.

Drawn up by a 10-member "committee of experts" appointed by decree, the draft preserves the privileged status of the military, which it effectively shields from civilian oversight.

Although Islamists won five popular votes held since 2011, the constituent assembly will have only two Islamists among its 50 members.


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