Egyptian panel starts amending controversial constitution | Middle East| News and analysis of events in the Arab world | DW | 21.07.2013
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Middle East

Egyptian panel starts amending controversial constitution

In Egypt, a panel of experts is meeting to begin amending a constitution drawn up by the former Islamist-dominated assembly. Supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi meanwhile continue to demand his reinstatement.

Egypt's official news agency MENA said on Sunday the panel, made up of four university professors and six judges, was meeting for the first time at Cairo's parliament building.

They have been charged by interim President Adly Mansour with amending the more controversial provisions in the constitution drawn up last year under ousted President Morsi, which reflected the Islamist leanings of his government.

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Protests in Egypt

The constitution was adopted by referendum in December with a majority of 64 percent - but voter turnout was just 33 percent. The new Egyptian leadership suspended the charter in the wake of the July 3 coup that saw Morsi deposed.

The panel members have 30 days to complete their task. Their amendments will then be reviewed for 60 days by a 50-strong committee representing different social groups in Egyptian society.

This committee will then submit final changes to Mansour, who will have 30 days to call a referendum on the new constitution, paving the way for new elections.

Continued protests

Sunday also saw the first meeting by the country's caretaker cabinet, which is seeking to implement an army "roadmap" for political transition. Its deliberations will focus both on the economy and, above all, security, following deadly violence at rallies calling for Morsi's return.

Such rallies are continuing, among other places in the capital, Cairo, where thousands of Morsi loyalists have gathered in Rabaa al-Adawiya square for about three weeks, demanding the reinstatement of the ousted president and denouncing the army chief behind his overthrow, General Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi.

El-Sissi has since been appointed deputy prime minister, while retaining the post of defense minister.

Morsi's overthrow has had a mixed reception abroad, with the African Union suspending Egypt's membership, but some other Gulf countries pledging billions of dollars in aid.

tj/kms (AP, AFP)

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