Egypt’s newly drafted constitution allows for the return of former Hosni Mubarak era figures into the political scene and bans the formation of political parties based on religion.
A 10-member panel appointed by Interim President Adly Mansour scraped 37 Articles from the 2012 constitution that was passed under ousted President Mohammad Mursi, including Article 37 for the “political isolation” of former members of the Mubarak’s regime.
Article 55 of the new draft charter states that citizens have the right to form political parties, and no political activity or formation of political parties based on religion is allowed.
Article 2 of the previous constitution stating that Islam is the state’s religion, and Arabic is its official language, was kept, but Article 219, which explains it in detail was removed.
The controversial Article 219 from the 2012 constitution states that the principles of Islamic sharia include general evidence, the foundational principles of Islamic jurisprudence, the reliable sources from among the Sunni schools of thought.
An article that gave the president full authority to pardon prisoners was restricted in the new draft constitution by requiring the consent of the Cabinet.
Mursi was criticized for having pardoned hardline Islamists who were convicted on terrorism-related charges.
Other major changes to the 2012 constitution include the president’s power to declare war. The new charter requires the president to consult with the National Defense Council and have the consent of the majority of the House of Representatives “before declaring war or deploying armed forces outside the country.”
Article 147 of the previous constitution gave the right for the president to appoint and fire civil and military staff. The new draft gives the president the power to “exempt from service” [not fire] civilian and military staff.
The draft constitution is expected to be sent this week to a 50-member committee appointed by the president to discuss it further before it is put to a public referendum, to be followed by the parliamentary elections.
Al Ahram Online quoted sources close to the 10-member panel as saying that the 50-member committee will be dominated by secularists.
Islamists dominated the 100-member constituent assembly that drafted Egypt’s 2012 constitution.