News / Middle East

Tentative Agreement Reached on Egypt's Draft Constitution

Members of the Egyptian constitutional panel prepare to vote on the new constitution at the Shura council in downtown Cairo, Nov. 30, 2013.
Members of the Egyptian constitutional panel prepare to vote on the new constitution at the Shura council in downtown Cairo, Nov. 30, 2013.
Edward Yeranian
— An Egyptian panel has begun voting on a draft constitution, a move considered the first step toward democratic rule following the July ouster of President Mohamed Morsi.
 
Voting began Saturday on the 247 articles in the new document, which would replace the constitution enacted by Morsi last year.
 
According to reports by Agence France Presse, the committee approved more than half of the articles on Saturday. The 50-member panel resumes voting Sunday, and plans to present the draft constitution to interim President Adly Mansour by mid-week.
 
The measure is expected to be put to a popular vote early next year.
 
Panel chairman Amr Moussa told journalists there was tentative agreement on all 247 articles, which include a provision stipulating sharia [Islamic law] as the main source of legislation.
 
A separate article says the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces must agree on the government's designee for defense minister.
 
Response
 
Cairo-based editor and publisher Hisham Kassem, a prominent democracy activist, said that he plans to support the new draft constitution despite reservations over “20 to 30 percent of the document,” because its approval, he said, will put Egypt back on the right track to becoming a democratic nation:
 
"It's not ... the best of constitutions, but it's going to mean that we move to the next stage of parliamentary [and presidential] elections, which means that, contrary to a lot of what has been said and written, Egypt is moving in the direction to become a democracy one day soon," Kassem said. "So my vote then is yes, because that is what takes us forward."
 
Panel member Magdi Yaqoub says the draft constitution is one of the best in the world.
 
"It is designed to look after every member of the community, particularly the poor, the weak, as well as the neglected people, and gives rights to every person in the country," he said.
 
Committee member Mohamed Aboulgar says the measure has a number of benefits.
 
"The articles in this constitution are great. They are very progressive, they will support social justice and freedom," he said.
 
Protesters teargassed
 
Egyptian security forces fired tear gas at clusters of protesters outside a courthouse in central Cairo on Saturday, where a student leader was being interrogated by prosecutors. The crowd of mostly secular activists was protesting a controversial new law that imposes stiff fines and prison terms for unauthorized gatherings.
 
The new law has met resistance from both Islamists and secular activists, several dozen of whom were arrested Tuesday after taking part in an unauthorized protest.
 
Egypt's army deposed democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi last July and suspended a constitution that was adopted with 63.8 percent of the vote in a nation-wide referendum held over two days last year. Only 33 percent of Egyptians participated in that constitutional referendum.
 
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL 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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid