CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt’s parliamentary speaker invited nominations on Friday to a new body to draft the country’s constitution after a previous panel was dissolved due to complaints it was dominated by Islamists.
The move to create the new constitutional assembly ends weeks of deadlock over its make-up. A court ordered the previous body disbanded in April after liberals and others resigned from it, complaining the Muslim Brotherhood was over-represented.
The assembly has the delicate task of drawing up a constitution that will define the role of the president after he is elected in a run-off vote next week.
The military council that took over after President Hosni Mubarak was toppled last year has promised to hand over to a newly elected president by July 1, but no one yet knows what authority the new head of state will have.
The polarising run-off vote on June 16-17 pits Mubarak’s last prime minister and former air force commander Ahmed Shafik against the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate Mohamed Mursi.
Egypt’s ruling army council on Tuesday gave political parties a 48-hour deadline to agree on the make-up of the new assembly, warning that otherwise it would itself amend the interim constitution drafted after Mubarak was ousted.
But on Thursday it called for parliament to meet next week to pick the new members of the 100-strong assembly.
Parliamentary speaker Saad al-Katatni, who belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, which has the biggest bloc in parliament, heads the parliamentary committee charged with choosing the assembly’s members. Katatni called for nominations from political parties, religious bodies, professional syndicates, worker unions, chambers of commerce and industry, public figures and anyone who wanted to be a member, state news agency MENA said.
Parties indicated on Thursday it would be made up of 39 members of political parties and 61 public figures including union members, lawyers, judges and religious leaders.
(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)