‘Mistakes’ found in Egypt’s draft charter

Arab World Materials 7 December 2013 10:46 (UTC +04:00)
‘Mistakes’ found in Egypt’s draft charter
‘Mistakes’ found in Egypt’s draft charter

Egypt's interim president has met with his consultants to discuss what he saw as "errors" in a draft charter awaiting to be put to a national vote, Al Arabiya reported.

A 50-member committee completed drawing up Egypt's constitutional draft last week and handed it to President Adly Mansour.

According to the privately-owned Egyptian newspaper al-Masry al-Youm, Adly discussed with his presidential office consultants what he saw as errors in the wording of the draft.

It remains unclear if Adly will return the charter back to the drafting committee to amend any possible errors, the newspaper reported.

Egypt's interim authorities have 30 days to hold a referendum when a final draft constitution is submitted.

The draft leaves uncertain which would be called first after its adoption - the parliament elections or presidential election. It says only the first must be held within 90 days of its adoption, with the next within six months after.

The ambivalence is thought to be designed to give Adly legal leeway to decide which to call first, though the original roadmap for the transition set by the military after President Mohammad Mursi's ouster called for parliamentary first.

The charter requires presidents to declare their financial assets annually, and empowers lawmakers to vote out an elected president with a two-third majority. It also bans parties founded on religion or sect and unequivocally states the equality of men and women. It also guarantees the rights of Egyptians with special needs and the elderly.

But it also leaves the military with unfettered freedom to choose the country's defense minister from within its ranks and grants him immunity for two, four-year presidential terms.

Last week, members of the panel met in a televised session in which they lavished praise on the document and pledged to do more to help Egypt through its bumpy transition to democracy.

The panel is dominated by secular-leaning figures. But it includes several Islamists, including one from an ultraconservative party, and representatives from al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's foremost seat of learning, and Christian churches.