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Friday, November 23, 2012

Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsy issued Constitutional Declaration expanding his powers

Mohamed Morsy, Egypt's President

Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsy has issued the new Constitutional Declaration on Thursday, 22 November 2012, which came as a surprising decision for many.

The new Constitutional Declaration expands the powers of the state’s President, as the head of state has the right to appoint the new Prosecutor General for the four-year term. Thus, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy has sacked today the state’s Prosecutor General Abdel Meguid-Mahmoud and appointed Judge Talaat Ibrahim Mohamed Abdallah as the new Prosecutor General for the next four years. Talaat Ibrahim Mohamed Abdallah is the former deputy head of Egypt’s Court of Cassation.

In addition to that one of the articles of the new Constitutional Declaration states that all the previous constitutional declarations, laws, orders and decrees made by the President since he was sworn in are final and binding and cannot be appealed by any authority until the new Constitution will be finalized and approved and the new Parliament will be elected. All the appeals and lawsuits against those decisions should be annulled, so the President’s decisions consider being the final. This is one of the most controversial articles of the Constitutional Declaration which cause a lot of worries, concerns and protests among the activists and representatives of different political powers who accuse Mohamed Morsy of conducting a coup and trying to usurp the power in the country.

Another article of the new Constitutional Declaration issued by Egypts President gives the immunity to the country’s Constituent Assembly tasked with the drafting of the state’s future Constitution. The Constitution writing body has got the immunity from the possible court ruling which could probably dissolve it, as it was with the first Constituent Assembly.

According to the text of the Declaration Constituent Assembly also receives the additional two months for its work, so the term of the process of writing the Constitution is expanded to eight months since the date of the formation of the body. As Presidential spokesperson Yasser Ali announced this decision was made to give the Constituent Assembly the chance to consolidate 
its powers, unite and finalize the draft of the Constitution.

Mohamed Morsy’s new Constitutional Declaration also protects Shura Council (upper house of Egypt’s Parliament) and gives it immunity from the potential dissolution.

According to the text of the Declaration Egypt’s President can take all the necessary measures and actions to protect the country, its people and the goal of the revolution.

It’s also very important that the new Constitutional Declaration also orders the reopening of the investigations and retrial of those responsible for the killing and injuring the peaceful protesters during the days of January 25 Revolution in 2011 and the following transitional period. It means that those retrials will also target Egypt’s highest officials from the previous regime, including ex-President Hosni Mubarak and his Interior Minister Habib Al-Adly.

The presidential Declaration has also ordered to give the pensions to the family of the “revolution’s martyrs” and to increase the help and assistance for those injured.

Despite the wide protest moods and deep concerns over the newly released Constitutional Declaration and the accusations of the attempts to monopolize the power the official spokesperson of Egypt’s President, Yasser Ali, announced that this Declaration aims to achieve the demands of the revolutions and its goals. It also should help to shorten the transitional period, stressed the spokesperson.

Meanwhile several Egyptian political forces and prominent figures (such as Hamdeen Sabbahy, Mohamed ElBaradei, Amr Moussa, Sameh Ashour and others) face their worries and concerns regarding the presidential decree as it threats the democracy and the goals of the revolutions and demonstrates the attempt to control all the fields of power and also the process of writing the Constitution by the President and Islamist forces. Egyptian activists and representatives of different political forces have called for tomorrow’s Friday protests against this decision.

It’s worth mentioning that the demonstration and march were planned for tomorrow, but they were expected to be held to commemorate the victims of the four days clashes between the protesters and police and security forces in Cairo’s Mohamed Mahmoud Street and Tahrir Square which happened one year ago. The peaceful march in memory of those killed and injured started on Monday, 19 November, but then suddenly the marches turned violent as the protesters and security forces clashed near the building of Egypt’s Ministry of Interior. The clashes have already left dozens of injured and one person is reportedly killed. Meanwhile the clashes still continue, and there are also reports about police detentions and arrests of the protesters.

However, after the announcing of President’s Constitutional Declaration the plans for tomorrow’s march have been corrected and the demands were changed. Among those demands are the dismissal of the government appointed by Mohamed Morsy, prosecuting the police personnel and officers responsible for killing, injuring and torturing the protesters and restructuring of the police forces. After the issuing of the Declaration the protests against it and its articles will probably become the main issue, stress some activists. The numbers of those who will attend the demonstration could increase.

The joint statement of several Egyptian political parties and forces has called for the massive demonstrations against the Constitutional Declaration tomorrow. Those powers included Constitution Party, Democratic Front Party, Social Democratic Party, Egypt Freedom Party, Egyptian Popular Current, Free Egyptians Party, Socialist Popular Alliance Party, National Association for Change and others. The groups 6 April, Mosireen Media Collective, Kazeboon campaign, “No to Military Trials for Civilians” campaign, Maspero Youth Union, New Women Foundation and others will also participate in the Friday’s protest.

The protests are planned to start after Friday noon prayers and will head to Cairo’s Tahrir Square from several city’s districts.