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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid