Military could dictate Egypt assembly form

April 22, 2012 at 2:44 PM
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CAIRO, April 22 (UPI) -- If the Egyptian Parliament can't agree on the composition of the constitutional assembly, military rulers could dictate the new criteria, an expert warns.

The leaders of 20 political parties, the speaker of the People's Assembly, the chairman of the Shura Council and other political heads are scheduled to meet Sunday with Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, chairman of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to decide membership of the new assembly tasked with drafting a new constitution, al-Ahram reported.

The first constitutional assembly, constructed by members of Parliament, was ruled illegal by the High Administrative Court in Cairo April 10 because it said Parliament members could not appoint themselves to the body.

Now political leaders must find common ground between Islamists -- the Muslim Brotherhood dominates the parliamentary body -- and liberals on how the new assembly might be formed.

Ain Shams University law professor Hossam Eissa said if no consensus is reached in the coming days, the SCAF would be legally entitled to unilaterally dictate the new criteria for selecting the assembly.

Eissa said the Muslim Brotherhood made a "serious political error" when it dictated criteria for selecting assembly members the first time around.

"The assembly included several nobodies who no one had ever heard of, which ended up stoking popular anxiety," Eissa said.

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