Presidency outlines constitutional committee selection criteria

The presidency issued a decree on Wednesday outlining the criteria that will be used to select the 50 members of the committee charged with drawing up amendments to the 2012 Constitution.

The committee is expected to begin work next month. The majority of its members will be drawn from state bodies and unions or bodies that are known not to be dominated by Islamist figures.  The presidency has requested that these bodies nominate individuals for committee membership.

The committee members will consist of the following:

  • Three from Al Azhar
  • Three from the Orthodox Church
  • One from the police
  • One from the Armed Forces
  • Four from the culture sector such as the Writers’ Union or the Supreme Council for Culture
  • Four from the Labor Federation
  • Four from trade unions
  • Three from the Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Tourism
  • One from the Students Federation
  • One from the General Federation of Civil Society Organizations,
  • Five from national councils the most important of which are the Supreme Universities Council and the National Council for Human Rights
  • Four from youth movements such as Tamarod and the January 25 youth movement (the body that will nominate them is not specified)
  • Party figures: Two from Islamist parties, two from liberal parties, one from a leftist party and one from a nationalist party
  • 10 public personalities chosen by the Cabinet.

This selection method is different to the method used to nominate members of the constitutional committee put in place by the dissolved People’s Assembly and which was formed by Islamist parties who at that time held a parliamentary majority. The committee was criticized for not having amongst its ranks specialized civil society leaders.

The bodies chosen by the presidency this time include a large number of national councils and bodies that have been in direct confrontation with the Muslim Brotherhood. Syndicates with a Brotherhood majority have not been included. There will be a limited number of politicians on the committee.

The committee will examine the amendments drawn up by the legal experts committee also formed by the presidency to amend the suspended 2012 constitution and present a new constitution that will be put to a public referendum in no less than three months.