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First half of constitution finalised - Daily News Egypt

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First half of constitution finalised

Egypt to adopt semi-presidential government system

Spokesman for the Constituent Assembly Mohamed Al-Salmawy  (DNE Photo)
Spokesman for the Constituent Assembly Mohamed Al-Salmawy
(DNE Photo)

Spokesman for the Constituent Assembly Mohamed Al-Salmawy said Monday that the assembly has concluded over 100 articles in the constitution, namely those related to the governance system, culture, monuments and heritage.

A constitutional decree was released by interim president Adly Mansour on 8 July, wherein Article 29 stipulated that after the 10-member committee completes its constitutional proposals, a 50-member committee assigned the legislation of the constitution will be decided upon by the presidency. The committee members were announced in a presidential statement released on 7 August.

Salmawy clarified that the articles currently being drafted are not final and will still be reviewed by the 10-member expert committee.

The committee outlined the authorities of the president, where a mixed presidential system or semi-presidential system was approved. This entails that the president is head of the executive branch; however, he does not enjoy exclusive powers subscribed only to him, as the prime minister currently possesses substantial levels of authority.

The prime minister  is set to be appointed by the president from the party which enjoys the prevailing number of seats relative to other parties within the parliament. The parliament then awards a vote of confidence to the prime minister; however, if he does not gain the vote, the president then appoints a new government, and if the new government does not gain the vote of trust from parliament, the president dissolves parliament.

The newly formed articles explain that the “President of the Republic is the head of the executive branch and is expected to protect the unity of the nation and territorial integrity.” The articles restrict him from tampering with the country’s territories: “[They] prevent any president from performing acts of separating the nation, similar to those regarding the selling of Sinai, Halayeb or Shalatin,” said Salmawy.

Amendments were made also with regard to the state of emergency. They stipulate that the state of emergency may be announced by the President of the Republic after the approval of Parliament or the Cabinet. However, if parliament is dissolved, the matter is agreed on by the majority of the Cabinet.  The state of emergency can only be declared for a specified period of time and must not exceed three months.

The president shall not declare war, except after consulting with the National Defence Council and the approval of two-thirds of the members of parliament. However, if the parliament is dissolved, the president asks for the approval of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the National Defence Council and the Cabinet.

Article 115 specified that the duration of the president’s term is four years; the president may be re-elected once, directly following his first presidential term.

Article 116 states: “A candidate must be an Egyptian of Egyptian parents; however, if himself, his parents or spouse ever held another nationality, he would not be eligible for running.”

Salmawy explained that these articles were derived from Al-Azhar’s document detailing different freedoms, namely the freedom of belief, expression and artistic and literary creation.

The governing system of the regime section was also concluded which, as it appears, switched the Egyptian system into a semi-presidential.

Within the rights and freedoms section, the freedom of literary and art creativity was protected under Article 3, which stipulates that all forms of art are protected under the constitution, and Article 27, which states that all ancient Egyptian monuments are protected and any impingement is a crime which is not subject to a statute of limitation.

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