Egypt’s interim president Adly Mansour has issued the anticipated constitutional declaration that will remain effective until the end of the ongoing transitional period, which will last for least six months according to the declaration.
The transitional period has started upon issuing of the constitutional declaration and ends after the presidential elections, due next year. Parliamentary elections should take place during the transitional period before the presidential polls.
The declaration, which came into effect late Monday, consists of thirty-three articles. It will be automatically canceled should an amended version of the suspended constitution is voted for by the public.
According to the temporary charter, the president holds legislative authorities along with the cabinet that shall have a mandatory consultative role.
Legislative authority will be transferred to the parliament’s lower chamber, the House of Representatives that has yet to be elected.
The president is also entitled to approve state policy and budget, and also declare a state of emergency after the approval of Cabinet, which is yet to be formed, and in accordance to the law.
The state of emergency, according to the constitutional declaration, can only be implemented for three months and extended for a similar period upon public approval through a national referendum.
Moreover, the constitutional declaration stipulates that the president is to form within fifteen days a committee to amend the frozen 2012 constitution. The committee is given a month-long period to wrap up the amendments.
The committee is to consist of two members of the High Constitutional Court, two judges, two members of State Council, and four constitutional law professors from Egyptian universities.
Members of the committee will be chosen by the respective judicial bodies, the constitutional declaration stipulates, while Egypt’s Supreme Council of Universities is to assign the constitutional law professors.
The committee tasked with amending the 2012 constitution shall refer the amendments to another committee formed of fifty members, who shall represent all layers of society.
Members of the second committees will represent political parties, intellectuals, workers, farmers, syndicates, national councils, Al-Azhar, Egyptian church, armed forces, and police, in addition and other public figures. Ten youth and women should be among the members.
Most members will also be chosen by their respective bodies while the Cabinet will choose the public figures of the committee, which is to come up with the final draft of the constitution within sixty days. The final draft should be up for public debate within the same period.
The president is to later put the amended version of the constitution to a national referendum within 30 days from receiving the final draft. It will be effective upon public approval.
The 2012 constitution was suspended as part of the Egyptian armed forces’ roadmap for Egypt’s future, which saw former president Mohamed Morsi ousted on 3 July following mass protests across the nation against him.
Egypt’s non-Islamist political forces have repeatedly argued the suspended constitution was not representative of all layers of society and limiting many freedoms, blaming the majority Islamist members of the outgoing constituent assembly for ignoring their recommendations.
[This article was originally published on Ahram Online.]