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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs