Cairo: A Cairo court said on Tuesday it had suspended an Islamists-dominated commission that had been tasked with drafting the country's new constitution.
The court, which deals with administrative issues, did not explain the reasons for its decision which was announced after lawyers and liberal political parties filed a complaint accusing the Islamists-majority Parliament, which formed the panel, of having abused its powers.
The 100-member panel, which is evenly divided between parliamentarians and public figures, was elected by the Parliament which also voted for a number of reserve candidates who could replace the panelists.
But most of its members are from the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi fundamentalists who hold the majority among MPs and senators.
The secular parties have already withdrawn from the commission, believing that their presence was only used as collateral for the Islamists to draft a basic law that reflects their political-religious ideologies.
The prestigious Sunni Islamic institution, Al-Azhar, and the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt have also decided to boycott the panel.
Islamists believe that the commission must reflect the composition of a Parliament where the Muslim Brotherhood holds nearly half the seats and the Salafists almost a quarter.
The secularists urge for a more balanced commission, fearing that the Islamist grip does not lead to the strengthening of a demand for Islamic law sharia to be the point of reference in the legislation.
The panel has in principle up to six months to draft a new constitution to replace the one suspended by the military, which took power after a popular uprising toppled President Hosni Mubarak last year.