Bloomberg News

Egypt Constitution Panel Case Referred to Supreme Court

October 23, 2012

An Egyptian administrative court referred to the Supreme Constitutional Court a case that sought the dissolution of the panel charged with drafting the country’s new charter.

The decision, announced in court today by Judge Nazih Tanagho, adds another obstacle to Egypt’s path to democracy. Islamists and secular groups are divided about the makeup of the country’s new constitution and the drafting body has already been dissolved once. Parliamentary elections are due to be held after the charter is approved in a referendum.

Today’s decision “will increase uncertainty over the path of Egypt’s transition from here on,” Said Hirsh, Mideast economist with Capital Economics, said by phone. “If you couple that with problems around the parliament, then this is just more uncertainty from the perspective of anybody looking at Egypt as a potential investment.”

An administrative court on April 10 ordered the first committee selected after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak to suspend its work. A new 100-member panel was formed in June. Following his election in the same month, Egypt’s new Islamist president, Mohamed Mursi, claimed the right to appoint a new constituent assembly if it is dissolved for a second time.

The panel has said it would vote on a draft document by mid-November before it goes before a national referendum. Divisions have been rife in the committee amid arguments over the role of Shariah, or Islamic law, as the basis of legislation.

The Muslim Brotherhood has said attempts to dissolve the committee a second time are likely to fail. “The constitution will be already finalized and handed to the presidency for a popular referendum before the supreme constitutional court reaches a ruling’, Mahmoud Ghozlan, a spokesman for the group, said in a phone interview today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tarek El-Tablawy in Cairo at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at

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