Mubarak stalwart Moussa to lead Egypt’s constitutional reforms
Amr Moussa, a stalwart of the government of Egypt's veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak, has been selected to chair the committee entrusted with amending a constitution pushed through by the deposed Islamist president, Mohammed Mursi.
Despite promising an inclusive approach, the army-backed government included only two Islamists on the crucial committee, neither from Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood, now the target of a sweeping security crackdown after more than a year in power.
Moussa, who was foreign minister for 10 years under Mubarak, won the votes of 30 of the committee's 50 members when the group convened for the first time on Sunday.
The interim government, installed by the army after it overthrew Mursi on July 3, wants the panel to complete its work within 60 days. The constitution will then be put to a popular vote and provide the basis for parliamentary and presidential elections and a return to civilian rule early next year.
A first draft of the new charter, leaked two weeks ago, would remove Islamic additions forced through under Mursi.
It would also scrap a rule preventing a rapid return to public office for former members of Mubarak's government, overthrown by the "Arab spring" uprising.
Moussa gained popularity in Egypt for his criticisms of Israel. He ran for president last year as a secular liberal but came a distant fifth behind Mursi.
"We are in the process of preparing a new formulation for the constitution of Egypt that ensures the establishment of true democracy, pluralism and respect of human rights and upholds the idea of the separation of powers," Moussa told the committee after his election in a televised sitting.