Egypt's crisis-ridden constituent assembly to meet Wednesday

Ahram Online, Wednesday 4 Apr 2012

Constitution-drafting assembly to discuss way out of resignation crisis Wednesday; Parliament will hold joint session on issue if solution not found

Egypt's Constituent Assembly will reconvene Wednesday despite the resignation of 20 of its members, according to Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) MP Sobhi Saleh.

The meeting will discuss the resignations and efforts to persuade the resignees to return.

If the assembly does not meet its legal quorum due to the resignations, both houses of Parliament will hold a joint session to discuss the issue, Saleh added.

Since the composition of the assembly was announced on 25 March, twenty – mostly liberal and leftist –members have resigned in protest at the number of Islamists on the body.

At least 65 of the assembly's 100 members are Islamists.

In addition, Al-Azhar, the Islamic religious authority, the Coptic Christian Church and most of the unions have withdrawn their representatives from the assembly.

Mohamed El-Beltagi, secretary-general of the (FJP), announced on Monday that the Constituent Assembly's 'committee of nine', which was tasked with mediating a resolution to the resignation crisis, had reached a preliminary agreement to replace some of the current assembly members with outside professional experts.

A coalition of assembly resignees and political and civil society figures have announced their intention to form an alternative constituent assembly to draft a separate constitution.

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