Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church has announced it is
withdrawing from talks on a new constitution, saying Islamist domination
of the drafting body made its participation "pointless", Egypt's state
news agency said.
The decision late on Sunday followed calls by Egyptian liberals to boycott the constitution drafting committee.
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 100-member constitutional assembly selected by the parliament is
dominated by Islamists, reflecting their resounding victory in
"The Coptic Orthodox Church General Council agreed with the approval
of all of the council's 20 members to withdraw from the constitutional
assembly... as it found it was pointless for the church to be
represented following the comments made by the national forces about the
way the assembly was formed," the state news agency said, quoting a
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.
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