News / Africa

Egyptian Panel Approves Draft Constitution

Members of the constitutional assembly attend a session to vote on a final draft of a new Egyptian constitution in Cairo, Egypt, November 29, 2012.
Members of the constitutional assembly attend a session to vote on a final draft of a new Egyptian constitution in Cairo, Egypt, November 29, 2012.
VOA News
An Islamist-dominated panel has approved Egypt's new draft constitution that must now be voted on in a nationwide referendum.  

The panel, boycotted by several Christian and liberal members, has retained the principles of Islamic law as the main source of legislation. The group hastily rushed through the approval of the 234 articles in a meeting that lasted from Thursday afternoon until until early Friday.

The assembly moved up the vote in order to pass the draft before Sunday, when Egypt's highest judicial power is expected to rule on whether to dissolve the panel.

Mohamed Morsi's November 22 Declaration

  • Reopens investigations into killings of protesters
  • Makes decrees issued by Morsi since he took office final and not open to appeal
  • Allows Morsi to appoint prosecutor-general
  • Gives Constituent Assembly two extra months to draft a constitution
  • Says no judicial body can dissolve the upper house of parliament or the Constituent Assembly
Over the past few days, about 30 liberal and Christian members pulled out of the panel to protest what they called the hijacking of the process by Islamists loyal to President Mohamed Morsi.

The Egyptian leader caused a political uproar last week when he granted himself sweeping new powers that bar the judiciary from challenging his decisions. Mr. Morsi told state television Thursday the decree will end immediately after people vote on the constitution.

Egyptians angered by the president's power grab have protested for more than a week. Two people have been killed and hundreds injured in the nationwide demonstrations.



  • Protesters chant anti-government slogans in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, November 30, 2012.
  • Protesters in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, November 30, 2012.
  • Merchants sell bread to protesters, some of whom have camped out in tents since last week, as opposition groups plan to gather for a rally in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, November 30, 2012.
  • Youths climb a wall that was built by police to prevent clashes between protesters and police at Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, November 29, 2012.
  • Youths walk next to a pirate flag on display by a street vendor in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, November 29, 2012.
  • Riot police and protesters throw stones at one another during clashes near Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, November 28, 2012.
  • Protesters run during clashes with police near Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, November 28, 2012.
  • A protester carries stones to throw at the police during clashes near Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, November 28, 2012.
  • A protester reads the Wafd, a local newspaper next to tents occupied by protesters in Tahrir Square, in Cairo, Egypt, November 28, 2012.
  • A shot of Tahrir Square in Cairo as night falls, November 27, 2012. (J. Weeks/VOA)
  • Egyptian security forces arrest a protester during clashes near Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, November 27, 2012.
  • An Egyptian protester blows a stadium horn as he gestures at a cordon of security forces near Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, November 27, 2012.
  • A protester throws stones at riot police during clashes at Tahrir Square in Cairo November 26, 2012.
  • Egyptians attend the funeral of youth activist Gaber Salah, also known as Gika, at the Omar Makram mosque in Cairo, November 26, 2012.
  • An Egyptian protester runs during clashes with security forces near Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, November 25, 2012.

Egyptians continued protests in Tahrir Square against Mr. Morsi for a seventh straight day Thursday, accusing him of assuming dictatorial powers. Clashes between stone-throwing protesters and police launching tear gas canisters continued.

Opposition leaders said they planned to hold more marches Friday, and the Muslim Brotherhood has called a rival nationwide demonstration in support of the edict Saturday.

Meanwhile, the constitutional court vowed to resist what it characterized as an attempt by Mr. Morsi to undermine the court system. Egypt's highest courts went on strike Wednesday in protest of the president's decrees, vowing to stop their work until the constitutional court rules on Mr. Morsi's order granting himself immunity from judicial review.

Mr. Morsi is expected to put the draft constitution to a public referendum as early as mid-December.


Watch related video of anti-Morsi protesters in Tahrir Square

You May Like

Islamic State Survivor: A Yazidi Girl's Tale

Sarah Said Haydar, captured a year ago while fleeing Islamic State onslaught in northern Iraq, was so traumatized by militants, she sought to end her own life More

EU, US Applaud Kosovo Law on Special Court

Joint statement says lawmakers' decision to address allegations of war crimes 'demonstrated their commitment to the rule of law and to honor international agreements' More

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: TFCFM from: Philadelphia, PA
November 30, 2012 2:22 PM
Sitting within sight of Independence Hall, where the U.S. Constitution was approved 230+ years ago, I find that the contrast between that approval process and Egypt's couldn't be much more stark.

The race by non-boycotting members of Egypt's Constitutional Assembly to try to beat a court ruling on the Assembly's continuing legitimacy seems farcical. What's the hurry if the Assembly's approval process is legitimate?

I suppose the real test is yet to come. President Morsi's declaration of incontestable authority may be put to the test if Egypt's court system faults the Assembly's efforts to spit out a draft constitution prior to the court's ruling. Should that happen, we'll see if President Morsi stands with the People of Egypt or with the pro-islamist assemblymen who rushed to enshrine Islam in the political constitution of Egypt.

by: david lulasa from: tambua,hamisi,vihiga,keny
November 30, 2012 5:11 AM
mursi needs absolute supreme authority to save christian copts in egypt and other non muslim groups..judges havent been able to save these kind s of people.

lulasa
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
November 30, 2012 7:10 PM
how he saves them ? he adoted a law that allow each fanatic to be prosecutor and executor.

by: Dr. Malek Towghi from: USA
November 30, 2012 1:21 AM
As a former enthusiastic supporter of the "Arab Spring", particularly of the Egyptian Revolution, I am disappointed to see the "Spring" transformed into a dark Winter and the Revolution hijacked by the Islamo-fascists. The Egyptian people deserved something better.

by: Antonio from: PNW
November 29, 2012 7:56 PM
Hmm, where's the Womens in the room? All those seats should be FULL at this point in Egypts history.

by: Rusty from: Australia
November 29, 2012 7:30 PM
When will the Arab world understand that Religion and Politics simply do not mix.
Mixing the two ingredients put any country years behind civilization and the modern way of life.
This has always been and still the intention of the Arab leaders to kill the democracy in order to cement their power
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
November 30, 2012 7:18 PM
i agree with you.politices and religion can not co exist. moresy know that and he choose religion aganist the will of the people. he knows how these fanatic act.in the past ,they kidnapped children.they rape gils. impose ransom for christain .now he put the shria as the law of the land . these fanatic will use that law as a tool to get away with murder. the tragdey is not folded

by: Isis from: Australia
November 29, 2012 7:29 PM
Another dictator and this one has a beard. When will Egypt learn that freedom and democracy is not in the hands of a figurehead but in the hands of the people. It saddens me to see how this controversy continues to destroy their major industry which is tourism.

by: Democrat from: London
November 29, 2012 7:04 PM
What a surprise!

by: Mazza from: Australia
November 29, 2012 7:04 PM
Once a state goes down the path of Islamic law as the fundament of their legal system, then by definition then begins to exclude democracy (not a facet of modern Islamic Law), religious freedom (excluded in modern Islamic Law), gender equality of any stature (not a facet of modern Islamic Law).

This creates a theocracy, which is a dictatorship format which invests complete and utter state controls in the highest religious leader, and the government is subject to religious leader instructions and decrees.

You may vote for a government, but they are only the administrators of Law as decreed by the religious leadership, who are not subject to any vote by the public.

Many groups and individuals around the globe and in Egypt who advocated and supported the manner of overthrow of the previous regime should now serously consider the ramifications of the manner of the overthrow.

Revolution seldom if never brings freedom to the people, it brings in a military government who came to power via leveraging off the resulting power vacuum.

And no one was more prepared for this power assumption than the Muslim Brotherhood, who despite all claims to the contrary, did ant and did assume power, and have immeditely moved to install Islamic Law.

The Egyptians will now experience what it is to live under a complete autocratic rule that excludes almost all of the freedoms they strove and fought for.

by: Michael Collins
November 29, 2012 6:59 PM
The US is not saying anything right now because the thing they value the most is a stable relationship between Egypt and Israel.

Morsi may have a point about Mubarek's cronies in the judiciary trying to undermine the revolution. If he want's support from liberals and non-muslims to side with him against the courts, he's got to convince them that he's going to govern with an even hand.

by: Rio
November 29, 2012 6:39 PM
Just as the prophet Mohammed turfed out the leaders of Mecca, so too did the majority Islamic nations in his footsteps and turf out leaders in their own countries, only then to be replaced with a new dictators to topple, and so on and so on and so on ad nauseum in this endless Islamic cycle of revolution. Who says history doesn't repeat itself?
Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Tradei
X
Robert Carmichael
August 04, 2015 3:07 PM
Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Trade

Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Growing Number of E. Jerusalem Palestinians Seek Israeli Citizenship

Most Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have long rejected the option of full Israeli citizenship, seeing it as a betrayal to their political cause - the formation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. But as that dream remains elusive, more and more Palestinians are applying for Israeli citizenship. Zlatica Hoke reports the decision is hard for many Palestinians who say they have to be pragmatic about it.
Video

Video With No Money, More Students, African Universities Struggle

Academics from around the African continent converged in Johannesburg last week for the African Universities Summit, a chance to tackle some of the major issues facing higher education in Africa today. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Wisconsin's Voter ID Law Still Mired In Controversy

Voter ID laws have sparked controversy across the US. More than 30 states enacted laws requiring citizens to show identification before they vote. Against fierce opposition, the state of Wisconsin recently enacted one the most restrictive voter ID laws in country. As Jeff Swicord reports, no one can predict its impact as the 2016 election nears.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Hailed as Highly Effective

At last, there's a way to end the suffering from the Ebola epidemic that has ravaged West Africa for more than a year. Researchers say the vaccine is so effective, there may never be a major outbreak of Ebola again. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs