Moderate Islamist to head Egypt’s constitutional reform panel

A moderate Islamist thinker has been chosen by Egypt's Supreme Military Council to head a panel commissioned to consider the constitutional amendments called for during Egypt's recent popular protests.

The military took control of the nation after two weeks of nationwide protests that led to the resignation of former President Hosni Mubarak on 11 February, after 30 years in power.

Judge Tarek al-Beshry, a moderate Islamist writer, said Tuesday that he has been chosen to chair the panel, the formation of which was among promises made by the army to protesters and opposition groups. Al-Beshry said the panel will meet with members of the military council on Tuesday to discuss its work plan.

Al-Beshry's last occupation was vice president of the State Council, the body responsible for managing the administrative affairs of the judicial system.

Meanwhile, the internet website for the Muslim Brotherhood said that a former Brotherhood MP, Sobhy Saleh, will be among the members of the panel. Saleh was formerly a member of the Egyptian parliament's constitutional and legislative committees.

The rest of the members of the panel are judges from the Supreme Constitutional Court and other courts, as well as a number of law professors, according to the Brotherhood website, which said that the panel will start its activities on Wednesday at the Ministry of Justice headquarters.

On Monday, activist Wael Ghoneim said the army council had told him and fellow activists that it hopes the constitutional amendments will be suggested within a few days, before undergoing a national referendum two months later.

Different political groups have been demanding constitutional changes that safeguard fair presidential elections and limited presidency periods. They also call for independent oversight over the electoral process.

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