News / Middle East

Egypt Constitution Vote Set for January

Interim President Adly Mansour speaks to government officials and members of the panel that drafted Egypt's amended constitution at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013.
Interim President Adly Mansour speaks to government officials and members of the panel that drafted Egypt's amended constitution at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013.
Edward Yeranian
— Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour announced a referendum will be held next month to ratify the country's new constitution.

The scheduled January 14-15 vote is the first step on a roadmap back to democracy announced by the Egyptian military last July, following the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.

An audience of top Egyptian religious, political and military leaders applauded the work of the country's constitutional committee, giving a hearty ovation Saturday to veteran statesman and diplomat Amr Moussa, who presided over its sessions.

Moussa, the former Arab League secretary-general and Egyptian foreign minister, said he believes his committee put together the best possible constitution for the country - one that grants all Egyptians equal rights.

"The committee has presented a constitutional text that makes for a prosperous and united society opening the horizon toward a better future for Egypt and its people," Moussa said in Arabic. "The constitution makes Islam the religion of the state, Arabic its official language and Islamic law the basis of justice."

Moussa said it treats the laws of other religions with respect, gives equal rights to all Egyptians and makes discrimination a criminal offense. He added that the new document grants equal rights to men and women, protects the rights of children, and offers social justice to all.

The proposed charter keeps Egypt a secular state, and Moussa said it preserves the spirit of what he called the country's "January 25 and June 30 revolutions.” The dates refer to the popular uprising beginning in January 2011 that ousted longtime President Hosni Mubarak, and the military action on June 30 this year that deposed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader who was elected president in 2012.

Mansour, who also heads Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court, announced the draft charter will be the subject of a popular referendum in a nationally televised address Saturday, and he called for its approval by a wide margin.

The new constitution - Egypt's third since Mubarak was in power - would replace another charter that was approved, ratified and affirmed as Egypt's fundamental law less than 12 months ago by then-President Morsi. Controversy swirled about the 2012 constitution even before it was completed, due to what critics said was its unfair and unequal treatment of all citizens.

However, with strong backing from the Muslim Brotherhood, that earlier constitution was approved in a referendum last December with a "yes" vote of 64 percent.

The Muslim Brotherhood did not react immediately to announcement of the referendum, but prominent members of the group have called for a boycott.

Mansour, who was installed as president with strong military support, says the new constitution defends the noble principles of freedom and democracy and lays a solid foundation for the future of the country:

He thanked members of the constitutional committee for doing their duty in fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the Egyptian people, and said they did the job with honor, diligence and impartiality, under difficult circumstances.

Morsi, who was arrested in June, is in custody awaiting a trial currently scheduled to begin January 8.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid