President Mohamed Morsy appointed 90 members to the Shura Council Saturday night.
The Shura Council, parliament’s upper house, is composed of 270 members, two-thirds of which are elected and a third appointed by the president.
Once the new constitution is ratified, the Shura Council will take over full legislative powers from Morsy until the lower house, the House of Representatives, is elected through new parliamentary elections.
The list included members that represented 17 political parties (12 of which were previously unrepresented in the council), constitutional and legal experts, eight women, and 12 Coptic Christians, said presidential spokesperson Yasser Ali.
He added that there were also eight members representing Egyptian churches, five members representing Al-Azhar and two from those injured in the revolution.
“The list included diverse representation to several segments of Egyptian society from different areas such as representatives of civil society groups, professional and labour syndicates, academics, legal experts, athletes, Sinai and Matruh tribal elders, and Sufi order leaders,” said Ali.
Morsy also appointed four retired military generals, including Major General Adel Morsy, former Chief of Military Justice. The new constitution bans military trials “except in cases described in the law” which is to be determined by the Shura Council.
The Council’s responsibilities will include drafting laws such as elections law that will govern the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Morsy also appointed several Islamists including fellow Brotherhood members and former People’s Assembly representatives Essam El-Erian and Sobhy Saleh.
Other Islamists appointed include Salafi Authenticity Party leader Adel Afifi, as well as nine members from Al-Wasat Party and three from the Building and Development Party, the political wing of the Jama’a Islamiya.
Before Saturday’s appointments, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party already made up 58 per cent of the Council, with Islamists being 83 per cent in total.
The appointment of Safwat Abdel Ghany, who was previously sentenced to five years in prison for his involvement in the assassination of the former speaker of the People’s Assembly Refaat El-Mahgoub, was seen as controversial.
Lawyer Samir Sabry filed a case with the administrative court demanding the reversal of Abdel Ghany’s appointment.
Another controversial appointment was Ramy Lakah, who previously escaped the country on bank fraud charges at one point and had his membership of parliament revoked by a court in 1993 for holding dual citizenships.
The National Salvation Front, Egypt’s largest opposition bloc, refused the appointment of any of its members to the Shura Council.
“The Front views the appointment of its members to the Shura Council at this point in time to be a form of bribery,” said Abdel Ghafar Shokr, chairman of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party and NSF member, during a press conference.
NSF also released a statement saying, “The NSF does not acknowledge the legitimacy of the current Shura Council as it was elected by only seven percent of voters.”