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Wed, 11 Apr 2012 09:06 - Updated Wed, 11 Apr 2012 09:05

Egypt court suspends constitutional assembly

Egypt

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  Egypt - A court in Egypt has suspended the 100-member assembly appointed last month to draft the country's new constitution.

  Several lawsuits had demanded Cairo's Administrative Court block the decision to form the panel as it did not reflect the diversity of Egyptian society.

  They said women, young people and minorities were under-represented.

  Islamists from the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafist Nour party, which dominate parliament, have a near-majority.

  Liberals and secularists fear some of them would like to amend the constitution so that it follows the principles of Islamic law more strictly.

  The new document will also determine the rights of Egypt's religious and ethnic minority groups and the balance of power between the president - previously the supreme authority - and parliament.

  Once the assembly has produced a draft, it will be put to a referendum. It had been hoped that would take place before May's presidential election.