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Egypt parliament debates make-up of assembly to write new constitution

The Egyptian parliament [official website] began discussions [Egyptian Gazette report] Saturday regarding the make-up of the constitutional assembly that will be responsible for writing Egypt's new constitution. The newly elected parliament will choose the members of the 100-member council that will ultimately determine the structure of the government and the rights conferred by the constitution. This has caused an intense debate between the parties of parliament who have differing opinions on who should be included in the assembly. The ruling Freedom and Justice Party argues there should be 40 members of parliament and 60 legal experts on the panel. Other parties argue there should be greater representation of minority groups.

The debate comes after the voting system in the parliamentary elections was declared unconstitutional [JURIST report]. The make-up of the constitutional panel will be important to the expansion of rights called for [JURIST report] by Human Rights Watch in January. Meanwhile the prosecution in the case against Mubarak is seeking the death penalty for the former president, Hosni Mubarak, who defended himself in court [JURIST reports] late last month.

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