El-Katatni announces reformulation of Constituent Assembly, lists parliamentary 'achievements'

Ahram Online, Saturday 9 Jun 2012

Days before a court ruling could put in question the legitimacy of the present parliament, Speaker Saad El-Katatni lists parliament's recent achievements and hits back against judges' criticism

El-Katatni (Photo: Reuters)

Parliament Speaker Saad El-Katatni said parliament will convene Monday to issue the law that will contain membership criteria for the Constituent Assembly (CA) tasked with writing a new Egyptian constitution.

El-Katatni further said, in a news conference Saturday morning, that both houses of parliament (the People's Assembly and Shura Council) will convene Tuesday to elect the members of the CA according to the new law.

"The new agreement on the structure of the Constituent Assembly will prohibit any single political faction, no matter how powerful it is, from dominating the constitution drafting process," said El-Katatni at the news conference

The previous CA was dissolved by court order in early April after liberals and other non-Islamist members quit the body, complaining it was dominated by Islamists. A multi-party agreement on the new CA came after the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) gave political parties 48 hours from Tuesday to set new membership criteria or else the council would either issue an annex to the Constitutional Declaration of March 2011 or revive the suspended 1971 constitution.

El-Katatni also responded to scathing criticism made by head of the Judges' Club Ahmed El-Zend Thursday that draft judicial authority laws slated to be issued by parliament would bring down the Egyptian judiciary. He also accused parliament of meddling in the judiciary's affairs after the Mubarak trial verdicts, which triggered nationwide protests, were criticised inside parliament.

El-Katatni said that parliament members were only reflecting the sentiments of the Egyptian people when they denounced the trial in a parliament session. He also said that parliament would never interfere in the affairs of the judiciary and that the proposed judicial authority laws were drafted by current and former judges.

El-Katatni also said parliament would look into the imminent Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) ruling on Egypt's amended electoral law, under which parliamentary elections were held, no matter what the ruling will be.

Should the SCC declare the electoral law unconstitutional, parliament's legitimacy would be at stake. However, El-Katatni said that the court does not have executive authorities and that the Constitutional Declaration issued by SCAF did not give any entity the right to dismantle parliament.

El-Katatni then spoke of a number of legislative decisions the Islamist-led parliament has made since it began its work in late January.

Describing them as "achievements," El-Katatni listed a dozen laws that the current parliament has approved, starting with increasing the monetary compensation of families of the Egyptian revolution's martyrs from LE30,000 to LE100,000; the law regulating the affairs of temporary labour; and the Disenfranchisement Law that bans Mubarak-regime figures from assuming political positions for the next 10 years.

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