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Egyptian court suspends Islamists-dominated constitutional assembly

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Al-Arabiya

An Egyptian court on Tuesday suspended the parliament's decision to create a new constitutional assembly, challenging the legitimacy of a body that has been criticized for its domination by Islamists.

The Cairo administrative court "halts the implementation of the decision by the parliament's speaker to form the constitutional assembly to draft the constitution," Judge Ali Fekri told the court.

Liberal groups have expressed resentments that the 100-member constitutional assembly selected by the parliament is dominated by Islamists, reflecting their resounding victory in parliamentary elections.

Liberal groups and Coptic Christians had pulled out of the assembly because of Islamists domination.

The Coptic Orthodox Church said it was "pointless" to take part in talks on a new constitution.

The current constitution was suspended by the country's army rulers in February of last year shortly after they took power from Egypt's long-serving autocratic president, Hosni Mubarak.

The new constitution is eagerly awaited by many Egyptians. It is expected to include more freedoms and define rules of the state's political authorities, including the presidential powers which were absolute during the 30-year-rule of Mubarak.

Many liberal parties, public figures along with the state's top Islamic authority of al-Azhar have all previously announced their withdrawal from the assembly.

A Muslim Brotherhood MP had said that the group's political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), has drawn up the basic features of the constitution to be drafted by the Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly.

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