Chairman of the constitution drafting committee Amr Moussa presented on Tuesday the final draft of the charter – finalised Sunday evening – to interim President Adly Mansour.

According to government sources, Mansour is expected to promptly approve the text and call for a referendum on the constitution. “The government needs a few weeks to prepare for the referendum, so we are talking about the first or second week of January, but not much earlier,” said a government source.

A source at the Ministry of Information said the next few weeks would be “well utilised” by the state-run media to “encourage people to vote in favour of the new constitution.”

“We are planning to host several members of the drafting committee and several activists during many programmes on all the channels of Egyptian TV to explain why this constitution could help achieve progress for all Egyptians,” she said.

A similar account was offered by two sources in two key privately owned Egyptian channels – with one actually talking about “an intensive campaign to lobby for a yes vote.”

Reservations over certain articles in the constitution have prompted considerable criticism of the draft from rights groups and revolutionary quarters. A particular subject for disapproval was the article allowing the trial of civilians before military courts in cases of direct assault on military installations – a text that is openly interpreted by leading military figures to render the military untouchable by banning attacks on all military figures “including workers at petrol stations owned by the army.”

Another subject of the same quarters’ censure is the article which allows the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to have the final say on the appointment of the defence minister.

The media scheme is designed to allow for guests and commentators “to explain the temporary nature of these provisions, to put things into context and to explain that these articles are designed to protect the army from the aggressive attacks of the Islamists,” said the source at the Ministry of Information.

Meanwhile, a high-ranking official told Ahram Online that he expects the constitution to pass in January with over 70 percent of the vote – a slightly higher approval rate than the 2012 constitution, drafted by a predominantly Islamist committee under the rule of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

The president is now to consult with the “rest of the state leadership – yes, including the army” to determine the following step of the transition phase.

The final draft of the constitution grants the head of the executive the prerogative to adhere – or not – to the original transitional roadmap announced upon Morsi’s 3 July ouster by army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi amid mass protest against the Islamist president’s rule, which stipulated that parliamentary elections be held prior to presidential elections. see more

source: ahram online