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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More