Egypt panel holds first session to amend Islamists' constitution
An Egyptian constitutional panel held its first meeting Sunday to look at amendments to a constitution backed by Islamists last year, dpa reported.
Amending the constitution, crafted by an Islamist-dominated assembly and ratified by a referendum in 2012, is a key step in the roadmap announced by the army in July, following its overthrow of president Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The 2012 document was criticized for allegedly ignoring the rights of women and minorities, and also slammed as one-sided by Morsi's liberal and leftist opponents.
The 50-member panel, which has pledged to draft a charter based on consensus, is to debate amendments proposed by a smaller panel of judges and legal experts.
Islamists are barely represented in the new constitutional panel, which was appointed by caretaker president Adly Mansour.
The only Islamist party offered a seat on the panel is the Salafist al-Nour Party, which has decided to take part.
"The commission is keen to come up with a new constitutional draft establishing genuine values of democracy and pluralism," said former presidential contender Amr Moussa, after his election as head of the assembly.
It has 60 days to finalize the draft, which will then be put to a referendum.
The Muslim Brotherhood does not recognize the army-installed authorities and has vowed to continue holding street protests until Morsi is reinstated.
The military toppled Morsi on July 3, after millions took to the streets demanding early presidential elections. He has been held since at an undisclosed location.
Egypt's first democratically elected president faces charges of inciting the murder of opposition protesters as well as conspiring with Hamas to commit "hostile acts" during the 2011 uprising that ousted his predecessor, Hosny Mubarak.