Egyptian military granted powers in draft constitution
CAIRO — Extensive amendments of the constitution adopted under Egypt's ousted Islamist president give the military more privileges, enshrining its place as the nation's most powerful institution and the source of real power, while removing parts that liberals feared set the stage for establishing an Islamic state.
The draft constitution is a key first step in implementing a political transition laid down by the military when it removed Mohamed Morsy from power. A 50-member panel declared the draft finished on Monday, paving the way for a nationwide referendum within 30 days to ratify.
The military-backed government has heralded the draft charter as a step toward democracy — seeking to prove the credentials of the post-Morsy system amid continuing protests by Islamists furious over the coup against the country's first freely elected president.
The amended document enshrines personal and political rights in stronger language than past constitutions. But rights experts fear that the political power carved out for the military could leave those rights irrelevant.
One key clause states that for the next two presidential terms, the armed forces will enjoy the exclusive right of naming the defense minister, an arrangement that gives the military autonomy above any civilian oversight and leaves the power of the president uncertain. The charter does not say how the post will be filled after that eight-year transitional period.
“This just paves the way for a bigger role for the army in becoming the main power broker,” said Hossam el-Hamalawy, a leading member of the Revolutionary Socialists movement, a key player in the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, who ruled the country for 29 years.
The run-up to the referendum is likely to be contentious. Egypt's leadership is pushing for the revised charter to win by a greater margin than the 2012 one, which was the country's first post-Mubarak constitution and was largely drafted by Morsy's Islamist allies.
That document won a December 2012 referendum with about 64 percent of the vote, but with a low turnout of little more than 30 percent. A bigger margin and stronger turnout could be touted as a show of the legitimacy of the post-coup system.
Morsy's Muslim Brotherhood and its followers reject the new government and the transition process, demanding Morsy's return — and they are likely to push ahead with protests to derail the document. Secular activists will likely campaign against the charter because of the power it gives the military.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Mom of Canada suspect: I cry for victims, not son
- Canadians more fearful, aware after ‘very rare’ attack in Ottawa
- Iraqi Kurds to send fighters to aid Kobani
- Lone gunman kills monument guard, attacks Canada’s Parliament
- Nasal cells help paralyzed man make history by walking
- 2 dead in shooting attack at Canada’s Parliament
- Russia, Ukraine leaders signal progress in talks on peace, gas
- Abbas seems desperate in round of belligerent rhetoric
- South African Olympian Pistorius sentenced to 5 years in prison for killing girlfriend
- Benghazi resigned to clashes as Islamist militias battle forces loyal to government
- In Hong Kong, no end game in sight as police, protesters clash