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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More