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Constitutional roadmap
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 08 - 03 - 2007

On 26 December, 2006, President Hosni Mubarak called for 34 articles of the constitution to be amended. After a month and a half of parliamentary debates, the People's Assembly Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee on Sunday completed its work on the draft texts of the 34 articles. Gamal Essam El-Din reviews the existing texts of the 12 most significant articles being amended together with the newly proposed drafts. The changes in the text are italicised.
The existing texts The new drafts
Article 1
The Arab Republic of Egypt is a democratic, socialist state based on an alliance of the people�s working forces. The Egyptian people form an integral part of the Arab world and work for the realisation of its comprehensive unity.
The Arab Republic of Egypt is a democratic system based on citizenship. The Egyptian people form an integral part of the Arab world and work for the realisation of its comprehensive unity.
Article 4
The economic foundation of the Arab Republic of Egypt is the socialist democratic system based on sufficiency and justice in a manner preventing exploitation, narrowing the gap between incomes, safeguarding legal gains and guaranteeing a fair distribution of public responsibilities and expenditure.
The national economy is based on freedom of economic action, social justice, and safeguarding different forms of ownership and preserving the rights of workers.
Article 5
The political regime of the Arab Republic of Egypt is based on a multi-party system within the framework of the fundamental basics and principles of Egyptian society as stipulated by the constitution. Political parties shall be regulated by law.
The political regime of the Arab Republic of Egypt is based on the multi-party system within the framework of the fundamental basics and principles of the Egyptian society as stipulated by the constitution. Political parties shall be regulated by law. Citizens have the right to form political parties in accordance with the law. Any political activity or political parties shall not be based on any religious background or foundation or on any discrimination in terms of sex or lineage.
Article 59
Safeguarding, consolidating and maintaining socialist gains is a national duty.
Conserving the environment is a national duty. The law shall regulate what is needed to create a healthy environment and the measures necessary to conserve it.
Article 74
If any danger threatens the national unity or safety of the motherland or obstructs state institutions from performing their constitutional roles, the president of the republic shall take urgent measures to face this danger, direct a statement to the people and conduct a referendum on these measures within 60 days of their adoption.
If any immediate and serious danger threatens national unity or the safety of the motherland or obstructs state institutions from exercising their constitutional roles, the president of the republic shall invoke urgent powers to face this danger after taking the opinions of the prime minister, the speakers of the People�s Assembly and Shura Council, (will then) direct a statement to the people and conduct a referendum on these measures within 60 days of its adoption. The People�s Assembly cannot be dissolved during the time of exercising their powers.
Article 76
(paragraphs three and four): Nomination for presidential elections shall be allowed for political parties provided they were founded five years before the date for candidacy nominations, have been active throughout this period and have at least five per cent of seats in each of the People�s Assembly and Shura Council. Candidates from political parties for presidential elections should hold high office in their parties and have done so for at least one year. Political parties shall be allowed to nominate a candidate in the first presidential election to be conducted after the promulgation of this article while being exempted from the conditions in the paragraph above. The candidate must be a member of the party�s higher council, formed before 10
May, 2005.
Nomination for presidential elections shall be allowed for political parties provided they were founded five years before the date for candidacy nominations, have been active throughout this period and have at least three per cent of the total of elected seats in each of the People�s Assembly and Shura Council or equal to this total number from one of the two houses. The presidential candidate to be fielded by any party must have held high office for at least one consecutive year. With the exception of the above paragraph, the above-mentioned political parties shall be allowed to field candidates in any presidential elections to be conducted within the next ten years, starting from 1 May 2006 provided that one of its members has won a seat in the People�s Assembly or Shura Council in the most recent parliamentary elections.
Article 82
If on account of any temporary obstacle the president of the republic is unable to carry out his duties he shall delegate his powers to a vice-president.
: If on account of any temporary obstacle the president of the republic is unable to carry out his duties, he shall delegate his powers to a vice-president or the prime minister in case there is no vice-president. The person who will deputise for the president shall not be allowed to request amendments to the constitution, dissolve the People�s Assembly or Shura Council or dismiss the government.
Article 85
(paragraph two): The president shall be suspended from exercising his duties as from the issuance of the impeachment. The vice-president shall take over the presidency temporarily until a decision on the impeachment is taken.
The president shall be suspended from exercising his duties as from the issuance of the impeachment. The vice-president or, in case there is no vice-president, the prime minister, shall take over the presidency temporarily ó and in accordance with the second paragraph of Article 82 ó and until a decision on the impeachment is taken.
Article 88
The necessary conditions stipulated for becoming a member of the People�s Assembly shall be defined by law. The rules of election and referendum shall be determined by law and the ballot shall be conducted under the supervision of members of the judiciary authority.
The necessary conditions stipulated for becoming a member of the People�s Assembly shall be defined by law. The rules of election and referendum shall be determined by law while the ballot shall be conducted in one day. A higher commission marked by independence and impartiality will take charge of supervising the elections as regulated by law. The law shall define the functions of the commission and the way it is formed and ensure its members are either current or retired judges. The commission will take charge of forming the general committees which will supervise the elections at the level of voting districts and committees which will supervise polling and vote-counting. The general committees should be formed of members of the judicial authorities in accordance with the rules and measures regulated by law.
Article 136
The president shall not dissolve the People�s Assembly unless it is necessary and after a referendum to be put to the public. The president shall issue a decision terminating the sessions of the assembly and conducting a referendum within 30 days. If the total majority of voters approve the dissolution of the assembly, the president shall issue the dissolution decision. The decision dissolving the assembly shall include an invitation to voters to participate in new parliamentary elections within a period not exceeding 60 days from the date of the declaration of the referendum results.
The president shall not dissolve the People�s Assembly unless it is necessary and after taking the opinion of the prime minister. If the assembly is dissolved for a certain reason, it cannot be dissolved again for the same reason. The decision dissolving the assembly shall include an invitation to voters to participate in new parliamentary elections within a period not exceeding 60 days from the date of the declaration of the dissolution decision.
Article 173
A supreme council, presided over by the president, shall supervise the affairs of the judiciary. The law shall prescribe its formation, its functions and its rules of action. It shall be consulted with regard to draft laws regulating the affairs of the judiciary.
Each of the judicial authorities will take charge of its own affairs. A council including chairmen of all judicial authorities and under the chairmanship of the president will oversee their joint interests. The formation, functions and rules of this council shall be defined by law.
Article 179
The socialist prosecutor-general shall be responsible for assuming the procedures necessary to secure the people�s rights, the safety of society and its political system, the preservation of socialist gains, and commitment to socialist behaviour. The law shall define his other functions. He shall be subject to the purview of the People�s Assembly in accordance with what is prescribed by law.
The state will assume the responsibility of safeguarding security and public order in the face of the dangers of terrorism. The rules of investigation required for facing these dangers shall be regulated by the law under the supervision of the judiciary and in a way that can not be hampered by the measures stated in articles 41, 44 and the second paragraph of Article 45 of the constitution. The president of the republic is empowered to refer any terrorist crime to any of the judicial authorities stated in the constitution or the law.


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