Work begins to amend Egypt's constitution as pro-Mursi rallies continue

Sunday 21 July 2013 21.09
Mohammed Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood staged fresh rallies today to maintain pressure on the new, interim government
Mohammed Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood staged fresh rallies today to maintain pressure on the new, interim government

A panel of legal experts has started work to revise Egypt's constitution.

It is the first step on the road to fresh elections ordered by the army following its removal of Mohammed Mursi as president.

Mr Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood staged fresh rallies today to maintain pressure on the new, interim government.

The brotherhood has accused the army of orchestrating a military coup and has denounced plans to revise the constitution.

Setting a highly ambitious timeframe, the military wants new elections in around six months.

It has tasked a panel of ten legal experts to present proposed changes to the constitution within 30 days for review before a broader-based body.

The original constitution was approved by a referendum last year, but critics said the text failed to protect human rights, minorities and social justice.

Mr Mursi, Egypt's first freely elected leader, drew criticism for failing to revive the ailing economy, restore security or build institutions during his one year in office.

The Muslim Brotherhood says it was repeatedly thwarted by remnants of Hosni Mubarak's old government and forces hostile to them.

Ali Awad Saleh, a judge who chaired today’s panel, said they would spend the next week receiving ideas from "citizens, political parties, and all sides".

Khaled Dawoud, a spokesman for the National Salvation Front, Egypt's main secular political alliance, called the start of the committee's work "a very positive development".

The Muslim Brotherhood has shown no sign it is ready to engage with the new administration or the army.

It has stuck firmly to its demand for the full restoration of Mr Mursi, who has been held in an undisclosed location since his downfall on 3 July.

More than 100 people have died in violent clashes in Egypt this month.