Parliament votes for 50 per cent MP composition of constituent assembly

Salma Shukrallah, Saturday 17 Mar 2012

A joint parliamentary session votes on Saturday to designate half of membership in Egypt's forthcoming constituent assembly to MPs, as Brotherhood party pulls backing of 40/60 quota in favour of 50/50 option

Parliamentary session including both Upper and Lower Houses (Photo:Ahram)

The majority of Egypt's Parliament voted in a joint session on Saturday for designating 50 per cent of constituent assembly membership to MPs while the other 50 per cent will consist of non-parliamentary members.

During Saturday's session – head by the speakers of Parliament's upper and lower houses – parliamentarians were presented with three different options concerning membership of the constituent assembly that will draft Egypt's new constitution.

The first option on the table was that those elected members of the constituent assembly be all members of parliament. The second suggestion was that no MPs be members of the constituent assembly. The third suggestion was that the assembly be a mix of MPs and others.

The ballot put forward on Saturday to MPs included the different options: all MPs, no MPs or a mix with ballot voters defining what percentage would be afforded to each. 

The vote results revealed that only 14 voted for forming the assembly from non-MPs alone, while only one voted for making up the assembly solely with MPs.

The choice to dedicate 50 per cent of the assembly to MPs while maintaining the other 50 per cent for non-MPs received the majority of votes, with 472 in favour.  Other votes were divided between the different percentage divisions afforded to MPs and non-MPs in the forthcoming constituent assembly.  

The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, which hold the most seats in Parliament, had earlier agreed that they would support the 40 per cent for MPs and 60 per cent for non-MPs quota. The Islamist party, however, changed their position early Saturday, supporting instead the 50/50 option instead.

Parliament is expected to elect members of the constituent committee on 24 March. 

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