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Egypt: Constitution committee to take final vote from November 24, say sources - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Amr Moussa, head of Egypt's constitutional drafting committee (Asharq Al-Awsat)

File photo of Amr Moussa, head of Egypt’s constitutional drafting committee. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—The final version of Egypt’s new draft constitution will be confirmed in a vote taken by the drafting committee and set to begin on November 24, sources in the 50-member constitutional committee told Asharq Al-Awsat.

A member of the 50-member constitution-drafting committee speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity said, “The committee has completed 90 percent of the constitution’s articles,” adding that the final vote on the draft constitution could take place over three or four sessions.

A subcommittee within the 50-member constitutional body responsible for reviewing a number of potentially controversial constitutional articles relating to the legislature and armed forces completed its work earlier this week.

The constitution committee member also commented on the work of another subcommittee responsible for reviewing articles concerning the judiciary, saying: “Committee chairman Amr Moussa addressed the judicial committee and told them that they have until Sunday to agree on the draft articles. The complete 50-member constitutional committee will then discuss the articles relating to the judicial authority after Monday, and that the opposing parties must reach a consensus on this.”

In earlier comments, Amr Moussa said that the new Egyptian constitution should not be an “eternal” document, adding that the constitution should continue to develop to reflect people’s changing demands and aspirations.

Speaking earlier this week, committee spokesman Mohamed Salmawy told reporters that Egypt’s draft constitution could be ready for a final vote within 10 days. He confirmed that the committee has finalized an initial version of three quarters of the new constitution.

Salmawy revealed that new presidential powers had been agreed in the new draft, including granting the president the right to appoint ministers to four “sovereign” portfolios: defense, the interior, justice and foreign affairs.

The president could also be granted the power to call for a national referendum to vote on whether to dissolve parliament or not once per term.

Once the 50-member committee has voted on the final draft of the constitution, it will be confirmed or rejected by the Egyptian people in a national referendum expected to take place in late December or early January.

For his part, head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, called on Egyptians to preserve the 2012 constitution, adding that the 50-member constitution committee tasked with amending the Islamist-drafted 2012 constitution is removing all of its “great” articles.

Speaking during a Friday sermon in Qatar, Qaradawi said: “They want to get rid of all the great articles contained in the 2012 constitution . . . things that promote morals, religion and patriotism.”

“The Egyptian people must preserve their constitution, president, and democratic regime,” Qaradawi added in reference to deposed Islamist president Mohamed Mursi.