Abdel-Meguid: Law regulating selection of Constituent Assembly members 'null'

Ahram Online , Tuesday 23 Oct 2012

Spokesman for Egypt's Constituent Assembly says law laying down criteria for selecting assembly members – Law 79 of 2012 – is constitutionally void

Wahid Abdel-Meguid
Constituent assembly spokesperson Wahid Abdel-Meguid (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Commenting on the referral of the case of Egypt's Constituent Assembly (tasked with drafting a new constitution) to the High Constitutional Court (HCC) on Tuesday, assembly spokesman Wahid Abdel-Meguid declared that Law 79 of 2012 – which lays down criteria for selecting assembly members – was in fact "null."

He explained that the law had been issued by the now-dissolved People's Assembly (the lower house of Egypt's parliament), but had not been published in Egypt's official gazette before parliament's dissolution, and should therefore not be applied.

Opponents of this view say that, since the law was issued by parliament, it should be applied, and that the assembly should be considered constitutionally sound.

Abdel-Meguid went on to explain that the constitution-drafting body was passing through a critical phase, not because of the pending constitutional uncertainty but because of the internal conflicts it continued to face with its membership seemingly unable to arrive at the necessary consensus.

The HCC is now set to rule on the constitutionality of Article 1 of Law 79. Investigations into the issue will begin after 45 days.

The court declared parliament's lower house null and void in mid-June after declaring Egypt's parliamentary elections law – which regulated last year's legislative polls – unconstitutional.

Several lawsuits have since been filed challenging the constitutionality of the Constituent Assembly and the mechanisms used for selecting its members.

Because the People's Assembly appointed the hundred members of the constitution-drafting body, the latter's legitimacy has since been thrown into question.

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