News / Middle East

Panel Approves New Egyptian Draft Constitution

Members of Egypt's panel tasked with amending Egypt's Islamist-drafted constitution, read drafts of the constitution before they begin voting on a series of amendments, Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.
Members of Egypt's panel tasked with amending Egypt's Islamist-drafted constitution, read drafts of the constitution before they begin voting on a series of amendments, Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.
Edward Yeranian
A 50-member panel tasked with amending Egypt's constitution has approved a new draft and will send it to Egypt's interim president Tuesday for his approval. It then must be approved by voters and would replace the pro-Islamic document enacted under ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
 
The overnight session of Egypt's constitutional committee ended in the wee hours of the morning with a near unanimous consensus over most of the 147 articles. Much of the lengthy session was broadcast on state television, giving the public a close-up view of deliberations.
 
Egypt Draft Constitution

  • Limits president to two four-year terms
  • President appoints prime minister with approval of parliament
  • President can dismiss government with approval of parliament
  • Defense minister must be a military officer
  • Civilians can be tried in military courts for certain offenses
  • Islamic law is the basis for legislation
  • Political parties cannot be based on religion, or have paramilitary components
Interim President Adly Mansour, who heads Egypt's Constitutional Court, must sign the draft before it is put to a popular referendum. If Egyptians approve the new constitution, the country will then embark on the process of parliamentary and presidential elections.
 
Veteran Egyptian politician Amr Moussa, who chairs the constitutional committee, refused to specify, however, whether the presidential or the parliamentary election would be held first.
 
He said that one election will take place from one to three months after the new constitution goes into effect and that the second election will take place no later than six months after the constitution is enacted.
 
There has been much speculation in the Egyptian press over whether defense minister and army commander General Abdel Fattah el-Sissi intends to run for president. Photos and portraits of a smiling el-Sissi have become a fixture on Cairo streets in recent months.
 
‘Black document’
 
Not everyone appears to be happy with the new draft constitution. A group of Muslim Brotherhood leaders called the text a “black document." 
 
A 2012 constitution, drawn up by a committee of mostly Islamist legislators, was suspended when the military ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July. That constitution was approved by 63 percent in a public referendum marked by low turnout.
 
Mohamed Salmawy, who is the spokesman of the committee drafting the latest effort, says the 2013 constitution would bring better days for Egypt:
 
He says that the new constitution is of greater value than any other constitutional document Egypt has ever known because it separates one era from another, from a period of turmoil, which he said lasted too long, to a future which he hopes will bring stability.
 
Another member of the constitutional committee, Jaber Nassar, says that the draft constitution will give Egyptians equal rights.
 
He said the constitution makes discrimination a crime and prevents discrimination due to social class or religion. He says that it makes the son of a peasant equal to the son of the president.
 
Nezar AlSayyad, who chairs the University of California-Berkeley’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies tells VOA that Egypt's constitutional committee did well in drafting the document, although not necessarily a flawless one.
 
He says they did a job under very difficult circumstances and managed to come together despite representing very different groups. He says it's a panel of compromise and that they ensured the creation of a constitution that is likely to be voted on positively by a majority of Egyptians.
 
Many elements of the new constitution were drawn from a seminal 1971 document drawn up under the late president Anwar Sadat.

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

US Urges Taliban to Remain Engaged in Afghan Peace Talks

US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Daniel Feldman recently met with Pakistani and Afghan officials as talks were disrupted by news of Taliban chief Mullah Omar's death More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: James K. from: Egypt
December 02, 2013 1:28 PM
hey don't worry... tomorrow they will have yet another "constitution" - this time modeled on Zimbabwe... it doesn't really matter you know, no one in Egypt can read... Egyptians can shout but they can't hear... stupid - that's what they are.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
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 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.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs