Presidency outlines selection criteria for 50-member constitutional committee

Ahram Online, Thursday 8 Aug 2013

Criteria for choosing the 50-member committee charged with finalising the amended constitution are released

Egyptian interim president Adly Mansour (Photo: AP)

The Egyptian presidency issued a statement on Wednesday announcing the criteria for choosing the 50-member committee that will examine the amendments to the currently-suspended 2012 constitution.

The criteria were set out in Article 29 of the constitutional declaration, issued on 8 July by interim President Adly Mansour.

The statement, following Article 29, dictates that the committee represent the different groups within society, including different political parties, intellectuals, workers, members of professional syndicates, members of national councils, union members, Sunni institution Al-Azhar, the Coptic Orthodox Church, the armed forces, the police and public figures. These representatives should include at least ten youths and ten women.

Each of the groups listed will select its own members, while the president will select public figures.

The members will include three from Al-Azhar, including one young person; three from the Coptic Orthodox Church; four youth figures, ages not exceeding 40, including a member of the ‘Rebel’ (Tamarod) Campaign, at least one representative from youth activists of the 25 January and a professional.

The four main political currents will be represented – Islamist and liberal parties will each choose two representatives; leftist and nationalist parties will each choose one representative.

The culture sector will choose its representatives. One will be nominated by the Egyptian Writers’ Union, another by the Federation of Artistic Trade Unions, one by the Fine and Applied Arts Sector and one by the Supreme Council of Culture.

Labour will be represented by two members, nominated by different workers unions and associations. Professional syndicates will get four representatives – one selected by the Doctors Syndicate, one by the Engineers Syndicate, one by the Lawyers Syndicate and one by the Journalists Syndicate.

Peasants will get two representatives, nominated by peasant unions and associations.

Other interest associations will also get to choose representatives; the Federation of Chambers of Tourism, the Federation of Chamber of Industry and the Federation of Chambers of Trade will each nominate one person. Egypt’s Student Union will nominate one representative, and so will the General Union for Non-Governmental Organisations.

National councils – state run bodies – will also select candidates. The National Council for Women, the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood and the National Council for Human Rights, the Supreme Council of Universities, and the National Council for Challenging Disability will each nominate one person.

The armed forces and the police will each select one representative.

The cabinet will nominate 10 public figures reflecting Egypt’s diversity, including representatives from Delta, Upper Egypt, Sinai, Marsa Matrouh, and Egypt’s Nubian minority.  

This 50-member committee will examine the constitutional amendments drawn up by a separate committee comprised of legal experts which was formed in July, and will come up with the final draft of the constitution within 60 days.

The president will then put the amended version of the constitution to a national referendum within 30 days of receiving the final draft. It will be effective upon public approval.

The 2012 constitution was suspended as part of the Egyptian armed forces' roadmap for Egypt’s future, which saw former president Mohamed Morsi ousted on 3 July following mass protests.

Egypt's non-Islamist political forces repeatedly argued that the suspended constitution was not representative of all layers of society and limited many freedoms, blaming the majority Islamist members of the outgoing constituent assembly for ignoring their recommendations.

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