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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs