Constituent assembly announces first draft of new constitution

Constituent assembly announces first draft of new constitution

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Wed, 10/10/2012 - 20:48

The Constituent Assembly announced Wednesday that it has finished the first draft of the new constitution and launched the “Know Your Constitution” campaign to encourage community dialogue to familiarize citizens with the draft articles.

Head of the Proposals Committee Mohamed al-Beltagy said that the assembly has begun a wide community dialogue on the first draft of the constitution after four chapters of the document were completed by four committees in coordination with the Drafting Committee.

Every Egyptian is entitled to participate and express their opinion in this draft, he said during an assembly press conference on Wednesday.

Beltagy added that the Proposals Committee has received more than 30,000 proposals from all the governorates and from citizens who do not belong to any political movements or factions.

“As it is the case in all countries in the world, the referendum would be a simple yes or no to the constitution as a whole and not article by article,” he said. “That's why we have started this community dialogue.”

Head of the Rights and Freedoms Committee Edward Ghaleb said that the assembly was not working in closed rooms, but listened to many entities and unions and studied other nations’ constitutions.

Freedom of the press, freedom of belief, exchange of information and the rights of housing and health were not restricted in any way, Ghaleb added, saying it is up to the law to regulate them.

Kamal Gibril, head of the Political Systems Committee, said the committee felt that a mixed system that divides power between the president and a prime minister who represents the parliamentary majority is best suited to Egypt.

He added that the new constitution identifies the requirements of the president and the prime minister, grants Parliament the authority to withdraw confidence from the government or from a minister, and grants the president the power to dissolve Parliament. Yet should people reject this in a referendum, the president’s resignation becomes mandatory.

He also said the committee agreed that Parliament should consist of two chambers. “The People’s Assembly will have the right to control the government and adopt the state budget, but the Senate cannot,” he explained.

“The municipalities will have an independent budget, and all of their leaders and members will be elected,” he said, noting that the chapter on the judiciary would be announced upon its completion on Sunday.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm