Wednesday, April 16, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

New Egypt draft charter sets powers for military

By
December 03, 2013 | 1 Comment

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 the creation of an Islamic state.

The new draft constitution is a key first step in implementing a political transition laid down by the military after it removed Mohammed Morsi from power. A 50 member panel declared the draft finished Monday, paving the way for a nationwide referendum within 30 days to ratify the document.

The military-backed government has heralded the draft charter as a step toward democracy — seeking to prove the credentials of the post-Morsi 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 express fears 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 following 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 new 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 Morsi’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 now could be touted as a show of the legitimacy of the post-coup system.

Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood and its followers, however, reject the new government and the entire transition process, demanding Morsi’s return — and they are likely to push ahead with protests to try to derail the new document. Some secular activists will also likely campaign against the new charter because of the power it gives the military.

The constitutional panel, appointed by the government and dominated by liberals, worked mainly behind closed doors. On Monday, with their work completed, the members praised the 67-page draft.

“It is now the right of every Egyptian to declare that this is their constitution,” said Bishop Bola, the representative of the Coptic Orthodox Church on the panel.

“I believe this is a constitution for a civic, modern and democratic state in 90 percent of its articles. It’s a leap in Egypt’s life and I hope people vote for it in large numbers,” said leftist politician and panel member Hussein Abdel-Razik.

The one ultraconservative Islamist on the panel, Mohammed Ibrahim Mansour of the al-Nour Party, said the document struck a good balance between the teachings of Islam and civil freedoms.

His support comes despite the removal of several provisions that ultraconservative Islamists had introduced into the Morsi-era charter, worrying liberals who feared they could be a prelude toward stricter implementation of Islamic law, or Shariah.

The new version retains Article 2, which says the “principles” of Shariah are the basis for legislation, a phrase that has been in all Egyptian constitutions since the 1970s.

But it removes a Morsi-era provision that gave a more precise definition for “principles” that could have been used to legislate stricter Islamic law. It also deletes a reference to a role for Al-Azhar, the country’s main Islamic institution, in overseeing legislation.

The new charter also goes further than its predecessors in guaranteeing freedom of expression and other rights. It criminalizes torture and ensures equality between men and women, as well as women’s and children’s rights. It guarantees the freedom of belief as “absolute.”

It also empowers lawmakers to remove the president with a two-thirds majority, forces the president to declare his financial assets and bans political parties founded on religion, sect or region. Artists, writers and filmmakers are guaranteed unbridled freedom to create.

But the power of the military enshrined in the document raises concerns that those rights could be undermined. The new draft removes some loopholes that Mubarak’s military-backed regime used to get around rights guarantees — but there are fears that rights could be swept under the rug in the name of security.

Since Morsi’s ouster, hundreds of his supporters have been killed by security forces in a crackdown on protests. Pro-Morsi Islamist TV channels have been shut down and this week, two of the iconic secular “revolutionaries” of the 2011 revolt — Alaa Abdel-Fattah and Ahmed Maher — were detained under a draconian law banning any protests without a police permit.

The new charter also fails to ensure any level of transparency for the armed forces’ budget or details of its vast economic empire, which includes interests in construction, road building, bottled water and land reclamation.

Civilians can still be tried before military tribunals, a provision introduced in the Morsi-era constitution and a major source of tension between rights groups and the military since Mubarak’s ouster. The new version appears to try to limit that authority by defining the charges that could lead to military trial — but still includes such scenarios as getting into a fist fight with an off-duty officer or the attendant of a military-own gas station.

Some 10,000 civilians are believed to have been hauled before military tribunals when generals were in power for nearly 17 months after Mubarak’s ouster.

Except for Morsi’s year in office, Egypt has been ruled by men of military background since 1952, when officers staged a coup and toppled the monarchy. Though popularly backed, the July 3 coup that removed Morsi returned the military to the helm.

There has been widespread speculation that military chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi could run for president — something he has not ruled out.

Presidential and parliamentary elections are set to follow, in the spring and summer of next year, once the constitution is approved.

Though the original military transition plan called for the parliamentary vote to take place first, that could change — the new draft charter leaves unclear which will happen first, saying only that one of the votes must take place within 90 days of the constitution’s adoption, with the other to follow within six months.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Rich GiddensDecember 03, 2013 - 1:03 pm

    It just seems that some hopeless backward nations are incapable of adopting modernity and western values along with a Constitutional Republic form of government. Regrettably, they must live under a dictatorship albeit hopefully a just benevolent one that's not unduly harsh in it's governance and administration. Look at what Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Anwar Sadat, Lee Kuan Yew and Syngman Rhee did for their nations in the face of complete anarchy. Those nations also need strong military and security organizations as the guarantor of their respective nation's constitutions. Were different. But we are in danger. Reagan said it best---''Freedom will always be just one generation away from being extinguished''.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Supervisor candidates file conflict-of-interest forms

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

 
Vacaville set to usher in new chapter for Police Department

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Solano Jews gather for start of Passover

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Suisun council debates train depot renovation

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
 
Trial begins for teacher accused of abusing children

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3

Suisun police ID shooting victim

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
County discusses consolidated dispatch

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

Miner Slough Bridge to see repairs

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Easter hunt set for Mare Island

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
‘Heaven is for Real’ opens Wednesday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B5

 
 
Fiesta Days pageant organizers seek contestants

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

Coakley joins Solano fair board

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

 
Crews make quick work of vehicle fire

By Glen Faison | From Page: A6, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
Paper Clover Campaign supports Solano County 4-H

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

 
Hundreds flock to Krispy Kreme as it opens doors

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
County to honor Solano educators

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A14

.

US / World

Officials: Huge San Francisco blaze was accidental

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
‘Shrimp Boy’ pleads not guilty in corruption case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Solemn tributes mark Boston Marathon bombing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Immigration activists urge Obama to act boldly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

First women move into Army platoon artillery jobs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Final deadline arrives for health exchange sign-up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

New LA newspaper embraces print in digital world

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Congress is giving states the transportation blues

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Police: Suspects in killings wore GPS devices

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

 
DNA alternative to Pap smear sparks medical debate

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Robot sub returns to water after 1st try cut short

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Supremacist faces murder charges in Kansas deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Ukraine: Military secures airport from attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Democrats have outside money advantage – for now

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Hamas praises deadly West Bank shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

 
2 dead after ferry sinks off SKorean coast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

.

Opinion

Oh, for the days of Dr. Welby

By Dan K. Thomasson | From Page: A13, 11 Comments

 
Poor Judgement in Flight 370 column

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13

 
Senseless babble that hurts

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13

Expand Red Top Road

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13

 
Editorial cartoons for April 16, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A13

State Senate must do more to restore trust

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A13

 
.

Living

Today in History for April 16, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

What love gives you

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

 
Saving carrots from their usual sugary Easter fate

By Sara Moulton | From Page: B6

Sweet pairings for grown-up Easter treats

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
A matzo ball soup fit for a weeknight dinner

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

My husband still pays his 45-year-old unemployed son’s bills

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

 
Horoscopes for April 16, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

Boston Globe wins Pulitzer for bombing coverage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Lindsay Lohan’s mom pleads guilty to DWI in NY

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Strahan’s ‘GMA’ side job confirmed with his visit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Cal hires Tennessee’s Cuonzo Martin as coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors trying to move on without Andrew Bogut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Sharks’ Torres uncertain for playoff opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Indians shut out Mustangs

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Ex-Minnesota State, Mankato coach returning to job

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Panthers jump Sabres to win NHL draft lottery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

More former players sue NHL regarding concussions

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
49ers sign WR Brandon Lloyd to 1-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

MLB marks 67th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Twitter buys data analytics partner Gnip

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Yellen signals more aggressive stance toward banks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

.

Obituaries

Carolyn McClelland

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Evonne Medina

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7