22 Jul 2013

Revision of Egyptian constitution begins

12:53 pm on 22 July 2013

A panel of 10 legal experts in Egypt has begun work to amend the constitution.

The team has 30 days to draft the amendments, which are intended to pave the way for new parliamentary and presidential elections.

The BBC reports the previous constitution by the government of ousted President Mohammed Mursi has been suspended.

The Muslim Brotherhood movement has denounced the rewriting of the constitution. It refuses to recognise the new administration.

However, interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi said on Saturday he was hoping for everyone to take part in a national dialogue.

"We cannot write a constitution when the country is divided. We have to return to harmony," he said in televised interview.

The previous constitution was approved in a referendum in December 2012.

Under a decree announced on Saturday, a committee, comprising four university professors and six judges, has the task of presenting its suggested amendments to a larger, 50-member panel comprised of religious officials, politicians, unionists and army officers.

The BBC reports one in five members of the second committee will be young people involved in street movements and women.

This panel will have 60 days to review the proposals before the amended constitution is put to a referendum. A parliamentary vote would then follow.

Pro-Morsi supporters are continuing to protest against his removal in Cairo. The BBC reports at least 60 people have been killed in violence since Mr Morsi was deposed on 3 July.