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Heated debate at centre of talks on constitution

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Heated debate at centre of talks on constitution


The start of the process to create a new constitution for Egypt got underway in the Cairo International Conference Centre. The two chambers met for the first time, their task to choose the 100 people who will write the new constitution.

The heated debate was a signal of the difficulties that lie ahead. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party want 40 members from parliament and the remaining 60 to include legal and constitutional experts with members of unions as well. That is at odds with liberal groups who stress women, young people and Christians should be handed a fair share.

“I hope that the new constitution will be clear on the three powers, legislative, judicial and executive and no one authority will be beyond the authority of the other. I also hope that the legal authority will be independent and able to take all the decisions without any pressure,” explained Khaled El Shebakshy of the Islah Party.

Mina Thebet, Coptic Christian gave his views. “We want the constitution to be representative of all kinds of Egyptian people. We want a safe representation of youth, women and minorities,” he said.

When an agreement is reached on the make up of the 100-strong assembly it will have six months to draft the constitution which will then be put to a referendum.

Our correspondent in Cairo, Mustafa Bag says: “In Egypt, the main question is how the new constitution will ensure the balance of power between the army and the parliament after the fall of Hosni Mubarak. It is seen as a long, difficult and complicated process.”

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