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The Constituent Assembly needs more time to finalize the new constitution and to reach a consensus over its articles, said assembly spokesperson Wahid Abdel Meguid on Monday.
"After extensive discussions over the ideas suggested by assembly members for the past month and a half, it was determined that we need three more months to finalize the draft before it can be put to a referendum," Abdel Meguid told state-run news agency MENA.
He said that the assembly has still not reached a consensus on the final wording of Article 2, which defines the application of Sharia law. Abdel Meguid predicted that that the controversy over the article will intensify before the matter is finally resolved.
The Constituent Assembly plenary session was postponed to Tuesday because there were no finalized articles to be discussed.
Gamal Gabriel, a member of the drafting committee, told Al-Masry Al-Youm on Monday that the committee has completed writing five new articles in the constitutional chapter on rights and freedoms. Ten articles in this chapter have now been completed.
The five completed articles are related to the freedom of religion, opinion and thought, as well as the freedom of press and media, Gabriel said.
The judiciary committee, a subset of the systems of governance committee, has completed work on proposed articles related to the judicial branch of the government and will present them for discussion before sending the proposals to the drafting committee.
Members of the systems of governance committee fought on Monday while discussing the role of the military in the new constitution, a topic of ongoing debate for the assembly.
Mamdouh Shahin, a member of both the Constituent Assembly and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, demanded that an article defining the role and responsibility of the military judiciary be added to chapter on the judiciary. Several committee members rejected the proposal on the grounds that the anything pertaining to the military judiciary should be written in the chapter of the armed forces.
Shahin then withdrew from the meeting in protest.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm and MENA