Members of Parliament (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt’s recently-formed constituent assembly, tasked with drafting a new constitution, wrapped up its first session on Wednesday at the Egyptian parliament building. 75 members of the 100-member assembly attended the opening session following the withdrawal of more than 20 members to protest perceived domination of the assembly by Islamist figures.
People's Assembly Speaker and leading Muslim Brotherhood member Saad El-Katatni was elected head of the constituent assembly in the procedural session.
In a brief address, El-Katatni stated that the constituent assembly would hold hearings with representatives from all over Egypt and from all segments of society in order to draft a constitution representative of all Egyptians.
Some members called on the assembly to delay the session until all members could attend, but this request was rejected.
Among the assembly members that attended the first session were Lieutenant General Mamdouh Shahin, member of the ruling military council and assembly representative for the army; constitutional law professor Atef El-Banna; MP Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat of the Reform and Development Party; political science professor Moatez Abdel-Fatah; and Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) MPs Hassan Ibrahim and Mohamed El-Beltagy.
El-Beltagy, a leading FJP member, announced on the party's Facebook page on Wednesday that the FJP was ready to replace some of its members in the constituent assembly with others of a non-Islamist orientation in hopes of bolstering female and Christian representation.
Independent MP and political science professor Wahid Abdel Magid announced his withdrawal from the assembly immediately after the end of the first session to protest El-Katatni’s election as assembly head. Poet and writer Farouk Gowida, meanwhile, suggested that 15 current assembly members be replaced with constitutional law professors and legal experts.
Most liberal and leftist members of the constituent assembly have already announced their resignations in objection to what they describe as Islamist domination of the body.