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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Egypt’s Constitutional committee to start its final discussions of the Constitution’s draft

Amr Moussa, chairman of Egypt's Constitutional Committee
(Image: Al Jazeera America)
Egypt’s 50-member Constitutional Committee formed in the framework of the Presidential decree issued by Adly Mansour after Mohamed Morsy’s ouster is on the final stage of drafting the new Constitution, according to the spokesperson and the official representatives.

The final week of negotiations of the committee started on Tuesday, 22 October, and is expected to last till the beginning of December, probably 3 December. This is the second phase of the working of the 50-member Constitutional Committee tasked with the drafting of the country’s national charter after 2012 Constitution was suspended as a part of the political roadmap for Egypt’s future issued by the Armed Forces.

We would remind that the first phase of the process of rewriting of the Constitution has started at the beginning of September when special technical team consisting of 10 members has discussed the controversial articles of the 2012 Constitution and proposed the change3s to be made in the new Constitution. On that stage there were the statements that the Constitution should be rather written anew than rewritten as there have been a lot of propositions of the fundamental changes in the national charter.

Then the 50-member Constitutional Committee tasked with the drafting of the new Constitution was formed and started its work. According to the Presidential decree the committee should fulfill its task within the term of 60 days and then the Constitution’s draft should be sent the Interim President and the national referendum should be held in order to vote for the Constitution. The parliamentary and presidential elections should follow the approval of the new Constitution and should become the fundamental steps of the roadmap of Egypt’s new transitional period after ouster of Islamist backed President Mohamed Morsy.

Egypt's Constitutional Committee
(Image: CFR-Blog)
First stage of the work of the 50-member Constitutional Committee came to its end as most articles have been discussed and amended, according to the committee’s representatives. Several subcommittees have been formed in order to make the amendments to each chapter of the Constitution. The second stage has started on Tuesday, 22 October, when the Committee has started its sessions in attempt to review, study and discuss the chapters of the amended Constitution and to find consensus regarding some controversial articles such as, for example, three articles opening the Constitution, defining the nature of Egyptian state, its religious and linguistic identity and applying to Sharia law as the major source of legislation.

The Committee is expected to hold nearly three sessions per day to complete the task during the next 30 days and end the discussions and final amendments till the 3rd of December. Then the Constitutional draft will be sent to Adly Mansour, Egypt’s Interim President. The national referendum should follow where the new Constitution should be approved if the majority of Egyptian citizens will support it.

In addition to that journalists and media representatives will not allowed to the committee’s sessions, according to the official statement of the Committee’s spokesperson, Mohamed Salmawy. All the sessions will be held closed in order to avoid mixed messages and reports in media and possible spreading of the false or incorrect information due to some possible misconceptions which could appear during the sessions and discussions. Journalists will be invited only to the official press-conferences held after each session where the official statements and reports regarding the work of the Committee will be made.