Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
In this image released by the Egyptian Presidency, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, center, speaks with Minister of Defense, Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, left, at a military base in Ismailia, Egypt, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Egyptian Presidency)
Egypt releases draft of constitution for debate
First Published Oct 10 2012 01:03 pm • Last Updated Oct 10 2012 01:03 pm

Cairo • The panel writing Egypt’s new constitution released a partial draft of the document on Wednesday, calling for a public debate in the face of mounting criticism over Islamists’ shaping of the charter.

The campaign, labeled "Know Your Constitution," comes as the 100 members of the assembly are still haggling over controversial articles in the charter, some of which will determine the role of religion in the country’s affairs and the independence of the judiciary. The partial draft made public also did not include sections still under debate over the role of the military and the extent of civilian oversight over its budget.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The panel is dominated by Islamists who have come under mounting criticism from liberals and secularists. They accuse the conservative Islamists of seeking to place limits in the new constitution on religious freedoms and women’s rights.

One article introduced by Islamists that came under heated debate puts limitations on equality between men and women in accordance with Islamic laws. Liberals and rights groups argued for the conditionality to be removed, but it appeared in the draft copy distributed Wednesday.

In a sign that the role of religion in legislation has not yet been settled, another article that would install Al-Azhar, Egypt’s premier Sunni Islamic institution, as the sole body authorized to interpret religious laws, did not appear in the draft. That suggested that the assembly had not yet settled that issue.

This article would effectively give Al-Azhar powers to vet laws to determine if they are in line with its interpretation of Islam— a notion that has raised criticism from liberal groups.

"It is the right of every Egyptian in and outside of Egypt to review the draft, suggest articles that are even better than what is already in there," Mohammed el-Beltagi, a leading Islamist panel member told reporters.

He said the panel has not yet voted on the articles in the draft, meaning that the material made public was not final. The document, released to reporters, includes footnotes on nearly every article, blanked out areas that it said had not yet been decided and brackets on material that members were debating whether to delete, indicating that the draft was still very much a work in progress.

Panel members have said they expected to finish writing the draft charter as early as next month. The new constitution then will have to be put to a public referendum within 30 days.

Egyptians are writing the charter following longtime President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster last year in a popular uprising. The previous constitution, adopted in 1971, was suspended and later voided after Mubarak’s ouster in February 2011.

story continues below
story continues below

International Human Rights Watch had appealed to the panel members to review articles in the constitution that it said may fall short of Egypt’s international obligations, such as neglecting to mention torture in the constitution, or giving a prominent role to an unelected religious institution in reviewing laws.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.