Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Egypt: Military Chooses a Balanced Constitution Committee

By Barry Rubin

The military is moving fast to show that it does intend to turn over power to civilians. It quickly named the panel that is supposed to write the new constitution. This was a clever set of choices that will leave most Egyptians happy.

The members are eight judges and lawyers, led by Tareq el-Bishri, a prominent former judge known for his independence and both leftist and Islamist leanings in the past. He is seen as bridging the gaps in Egyptian viewpoints.

Sobeh Saleh, an Alexandria lawyer and former member of parliament is a prominent figure in the Muslim Brotherhood,

Maher Samy Youssef, another judge, is a Coptic Christian,

There are two more judges, Hassan El Badrawi and Hatem Bagatou, and three law professors, Mohamed Hassaneim Abdel Al, Mahmoud Atef El Bana and Mohamed Bahey Abou Younis.

So this is a balanced panel. We will see what they come up with. One key question is the relative powers of the presidency, parliament, and the courts.

But one thing is especially important: What is the basis for Egyptian law? Will the source be the Koran or only a source?

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