Expert Panel Given 10 Days to Complete Draft of Egypt’s New Constitution
Posted Feb 17, 2011 6:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A panel of legal experts that includes critics of former president Hosni Mubarak has been named to revise Egypt’s constitution.
The Constitutional Amendment Committee has been told to complete an initial draft within 10 days that will pave the way toward elections, Reuters Africa reports. In three months, voters will be asked to approve the proposed changes, the Washington Post reports.
Leading the panel is Tareq el-Bishri, a retired senior judge who was a legal adviser to a major opposition movement, the New York Times reports. He has advocated a balance of power between government institutions and has opposed prosecutions outside civilian courts, the newspaper says.
Also on the panel are an appellate lawyer who is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and a judge who is a Coptic Christian. The group is considering changes that would abolish emergency law, open up the political process, impose term limits, and give judges the authority to oversee elections.
The Times calls the panel “the first tangible evidence of a commitment to move the country toward democracy” since President Mubarak stepped down.
The member of the Muslim Brotherhood on the panel, Sobhi Saleh, told the Post that more sweeping constitutional revisions could be made after a civilian government is elected. "The job of the committee right now is to constitutionally deal with the demands of the revolutionaries," he said.
Foreign Affairs: “Egypt’s Constitutional Ghosts”