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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Egypt’s draft of the amended Constitution is finalized and presented to the President

Amr Moussa, chairman of the Constitutional Committee, gives
the Constitution draft to Adly Mansour, Egypt's interim
(Image: AP)
Egypt’s 50-member Constitutional Committee tasked with the amending of the 2012 Constitution, suspended in the frameworks of the political roadmap introduced by Egypt’s Armed Forces after ouster of Islamist backed President Mohamed Morsy, was finalized on Sunday, 30 December.

Constitutional Committee has been holding final talks and discussions of the four articles remaining not approved by the members of the Committee as they have sparked debates and controversy. Among them were an article regarding the military trials for civilians in special cases, articles related to the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections and the article stipulating the structure of the future Parliament and the way of voting and electoral system.

As for the article regarding military trials of civilians, the majority of the Committee voted in favor of it despite the controversy and debates. Thus civilians could be tried before the military court in the cases when their crimes are directly related to the military personnel, property and facilities.

The article about the Parliament establishes in Egypt mixed electoral system, with two thirds of the Parliament consisting of the individual candidates and one third represented in the party lists. Requirements to the candidates are also specified in the amended article. Egypt’s Parliament will be named House of Representatives and will be composed of at least 450 MPs.

Egypt's Constitution
(Image: Al Masry Al Youm)
Article regulating upcoming parliamentary election states the election should be held within 30 days after the approval of the Constitution on the national referendum and not more than in 90 days after it. The first parliamentary session should begin no later than within 10 days since the results of the elections will be announced. The presidential elections should be held also within 30 days since the approval of the new Constitution and not later than in 90 days.

Some experts and analysts are assuming the presidential elections could be possible held ahead of the parliamentary polls.

Thus the amended Egypt’s Constitution consists of 247 articles. All the discussions have been closed on Sunday.

Amr Moussa, chairman of the Constitutional Committee, has presented the draft of the newly amended Constitution to Egypt’s Interim President Adly Mansour on Tuesday, 3 December, during an official ceremony. President received the draft of the national charter in order to study and approve it, after what he should call for a national referendum, according to the terms of the roadmap imposed by the military forces after Mohamed Morsy was ousted by the military decree.

Egypt’s Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawy announced that national referendum is expected to be held in the middle of January and will probably take two days. The polls stations will be open during 12 hours. Once the President will approve the Constitution’s draft the government will start the preparation to the organizing of the national referendum. Government could need nearly two weeks for that, said Prime Minister.

Hazem El-Beblawy also urged the people who supported the 30 June Revolution and the current roadmap to come to the referendum and to vote in favor of the Constitution.

Hazem El-Beblawy, Egypt's Prime Minister
(Image: Ahram Online)
Newly amended Constitution received a lot of different comments of political scientists, experts, analysts, politicians, activists and other prominent figures in Egyptian society, with some praising the future national charter as the best Constitution in Egypt’s modern history, which could help to build in Egypt democratic and open society without oppression and inequality, and with some other criticizing the text of the new Constitution. The most controversial appeared the articles regarding military trials for civilians and the articles regulating the position of military in the country.

Thus the text of the amended Constitution is finalized and handed to President, and the dates of the referendum are expected to be set soon. In time before the referendum Egypt’s government is planning to demonstrate Egyptian citizens the benefits of the new Constitution and to make them familiar with its text. It is planned to be achieved with the help of media including main TV channels.