News / Africa

Egypt's Mansour Decrees Constitutional Rewrite

Egyptian state TV show's interim President Adly Mansour making first address to nation since ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, Cairo, July 18, 2013.
Egyptian state TV show's interim President Adly Mansour making first address to nation since ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, Cairo, July 18, 2013.
VOA News
Egypt's military-backed interim president has selected legal experts to rewrite the Egyptian constitution, which the military suspended this month by ousting the previous Islamist president who ratified the charter.
 
In a decree issued Saturday, interim leader Adly Mansour appointed 10 judges and law professors who will have one month to propose constitutional amendments as part of a timetable for returning Egypt to democratic rule. The panel is due to hold its first meeting on Sunday.
 
Ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi ratified the constitution last December, after an assembly of his Islamist supporters drafted the document and secured its approval in a public referendum marred by a low turnout.
 
Secular and liberal Egyptians largely boycotted that process, accusing Islamists of ignoring their input and trying to undermine their civil rights. The opponents of the constitution led nationwide mass protests against Morsi's rule earlier this month, prompting the military to oust him and install Mansour as interim leader.
 
Morsi had served only one year of his term as Egypt's first democratically-elected president following the removal of his longtime predecessor Hosni Mubarak in a 2011 popular revolution supported by the military.
 
Mansour's timetable for reinstating democracy calls for the 10 legal experts he appointed to submit their constitutional amendments to a 50-member committee of politicians, trade unionists and religious figures. The larger committee will have two months to make further changes before handing the draft constitution to the president, who will have 30 days to call a referendum on the document.
 
Egypt's interim government has said it intends to hold new parliamentary and presidential elections under a revised constitution early next year.
 
But Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement has rejected the military's suspension of the constitution and refused to deal with the new government until he is reinstated.
 
Interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi urged the Islamists to join the political process. In an interview broadcast on state television Saturday, he said Egypt needs a political consensus to overcome serious economic difficulties.
 
In a diplomatic boost for the interim government, Jordanian King Abdullah arrived in Cairo on Saturday and held talks with Mansour. The king is the first Arab leader to visit Egypt since Mr. Morsi's July 3 ouster, which Amman supported.
 
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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