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Constitution sessions not confidential: Spokesman

Constitutional committee media spokesman says panel debates are 'no secret,' affirms decision to ban reserve members from participation

Ahram Online , Sunday 27 Oct 2013
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Egypt's constitution-drafting panel is polishing off the final charter draft in "closed" rather than "confidential" sessions, committee media spokesman Mohamed Salmawy said on Sunday after a recently-imposed media blackout sparked controversy.

On Tuesday, the media, in addition to reserve committee members, were prohibited from attending the committee's first meeting since the long holiday ended.

In response to concerns about the decision to bar reserve members from attending the final drafting sessions, Salmawy clarified that only permanent members can vote on the final draft, due to be put up for national referendum in December.

Opposing members had argued that the committee bylaws allow substitutes to attend all constitution-drafting sessions, albeit without voting.

In Sunday's briefing, the spokesman quoted committee head Amr Moussa as saying that the committee – which is tasked with amending the suspended 2012 constitution – is committed to the transitional roadmap's timetable for finalising the amended constitution, "if not earlier."

The 2012 Islamist-drafted constitution was suspended following the overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi in early July. It was criticised by many non-Islamists for "entrenching Islamic rule" and falling short on human rights and personal freedoms.

The amended charter will be presented to Interim President Adly Mansour in early December for approval before heading to a national referendum.

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