Egypt’s military rulers invited parliament’s two houses to convene on Saturday to form a panel to draft a new constitution, state television reported on Sunday.
Under an interim constitution, parliament is responsible for picking the 100-strong assembly that will write the new constitution to replace the one that helped keep Mubarak in power for three decades.
Political parties, led by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party which emerged as a key player in the new parliament, have already been in talks over the make-up of the constituent assembly.
The parliamentary vote for the upper house finished last week, concluding the first elections since the popular uprising toppled Mubarak a year ago.
The military, which has suggested it would like the new constitution to give it privileges after it hands the reins of government to an elected president this year, has promised to allow parliament to appoint the panel.
But both the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and liberals are believed to want to influence the criteria for constitutional panel members, to ensure that it is not dominated by any one group.
A tug-of-war has already begun over the shape of the future document that will define the balance of power between the army-backed executive and parliament, which wants to curb broad presidential powers.
The earlier lower house election, which started in November, saw an unprecedented turnout and was hailed as Egypt’s most democratic since military officers overthrew the king in 1952.
But an Egyptian court ruled last week that the voting system that elected the new parliament was unconstitutional, creating a fresh source of uncertainty which could hold up the functioning of the new legislature.
It is not clear whether the 100 members of the assembly will be selected just from parliament.
Under the expected arrangement, the assembly will include legal experts as well as members of parliament.