Egypt's military rulers delay meeting on constitution until Saturday

Ahram Online, Thursday 26 Apr 2012

SCAF's meeting with political parties on structure of constituent assembly postponed for second time

File photo: The Egyptian official news agency, political figures and representatives meet with General Sami Anan (3rd R), Army chief of Staff and member of the SCAF at the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in Cairo November 22, 2011. (Photo: Reuters)

A meeting scheduled for Thursday between the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and representatives of political parties on the membership of Egypt's constitution-drafting assembly has been postponed until Saturday.

Some representatives claimed they had not received an invitation to the meeting, but a SCAF source told Al-Shorouk daily newspaper that "we are waiting for a final answer from the political parties."

The meeting was first scheduled for last Saturday but was postponed upon the request of a number of political parties.

Meanwhile, Parliament is working on its own criteria for forming the revamped constituent assembly. Parliamentary speaker Mohamed Saad El-Katatni on 20 April asked Mahmoud El-Khodeiry, head of the legislative and constitutional affairs committee, to meet representatives of political parties to forge a consensus on how to reform the assembly.

The beleaguered constituent assembly has faced numerous problems since its launch.

Within days of the official membership list being announced, there was a mass walkout of members from the liberal and leftist parties, independent prominent figures and representatives of the unions and syndicates as well as Egypt's main Islamic authority, Al-Azhar, and the Coptic Church.

All objected to the Islamist majority in the assembly and the method used to chose its members, which saw 50 people elected from parliament and 50 non-parliamentarians. Many added that it did not reflect the diversity of Egyptian society.

Islamists comprised more than 65 percent of the assembly's 100 members, with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist Nour Party winning the largest proportions of seats. 

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