Parliament committee approves standards of Constituent Assembly formation

Parliament’s legislative committee on Saturday approved a draft law on standards for forming the assembly that is tasked with writing the new constitution.

The People’s Assembly Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee held hearings attended by representatives of various social segments and legal experts to decide on the Constituent Assembly formation. The draft law includes 13 articles.

A court ruling had earlier nullified the formation of Islamist-dominated assembly for not properly representing society.

The articles of the draft law read as follows:

Article 1: Without violating the Constitutional Declaration, elected members of the People’s Assembly and Shura Council should elect 100 members to form the Constituent Assembly and write the constitution in one month’s time from the date of issuing the law.

Article 2: The elected constitution-writing assembly should be a legal personality independent from any of the state institutions.

Article 3: Representation of all segments of society should be considered while forming the assembly.

Article 4: All authorities and institutions are allowed to elect a representative. Public figures are also allowed to either elect themselves or others. Nominations should be submitted to Parliament’s technical secretariat. All authorities or individuals who seeking to be elected or represented should attach a brief CV to the nomination request so members of the parliamentary joint meeting can select the best.

Article 5: The People’s Assembly speaker, in his capacity as head of the joint meeting, should call on members of the meeting to select the Constituent Assembly members in a week at most from the date of issuing of the law.

Article 6: The elected Constituent Assembly should start its work once formed. It should also select a chief and two deputies from its members.

Article 7: The Constituent Assembly should set regulations organizing its work in three days at most from the date of holding the first session.

Article 8: All state institutions should offer the necessary technical support to the assembly. The assembly has the right to obtain information that helps getting its work accomplished.

Article 9: The Constituent Assembly head should propose forming a technical secretariat to help get its work done. Members do not have the right to vote.

Article 10: The Constituent Assembly should have a technical secretariat to be tasked with administrative and organizational affairs, as well as issues related to coordination among its members or other institutions.

Article 11: The elected Constituent Assembly has the right to get help of experts not included in it. It also has the right to hold hearing sessions.

Article 12: The assembly should have its own budget that it sets the condition of. It should be approved by the Cabinet.

Article 13: The law should be published in the official gazette [which publishes new laws] and be enacted the following day of publishing.

MPs Mostafa Bakry, Bassel Adel and Ihab Ramzy left the committee meeting after it rejected their proposal of adding the regulations of voting on the constitution’s articles to the draft law. A majority of members agreed that assembly should set its regulations, which made the three members withdraw.

MP Sobhi Saleh said the committee shouldn’t set regulations for the assembly. If it didn’t set its own regulations, then it wouldn’t be able to write the constitution, he said.

Other members demanded banning MPs’ representation on the assembly to abide by the ruling, which nullified the older formation. Other members rejected this, saying the ruling was non-binding. But Mahmoud al-Khodeiry, head of the legislative committee, said the issue would be discussed during the joint meeting mentioned in Article 4.

Others criticized the third article, which stipulates the representation of all segments of society. MP Suzy Adly said the article is vague and needs to be recast.

A verbal wrangle also erupted between Bakry and Khodeiry, when the former called for adding a sentence to the fifth article stipulating that the ruling military council should call for a joint parliamentary meeting.

Edited translation from MENA

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