Friday, 1 April 2011
Egypt: Military council taking steps toward the handover of power
The constitutional decree is, in effect, the previous constitution but incorporates the amendments that were passed by the 19th March referendum. It continues to stipulate that Islam is the religion of the State and that Islamic law is the principle source of legislation. The amendments include the limit on the number of terms that a president may serve, and also the judicial supervision of elections.
These amendments do not, however, go as far as the youth movements and other groups, who led the protests that brought down president Hosni Mubarak, had hoped. They wanted a radical rewriting of the constitution to recast the relationship between the citizen and the State. A more thorough look at the constitution is, however, envisaged once the parliament is formed.
Announcing the decree on 30th March on behalf of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Maj Gen Mamdouh Shahin said that legislative powers would be transferred to the parliament once it was elected. The presidential elections would take place a month or two after the formation of parliament.
Similarly, the new law on the formation of new political parties makes some key changes to the previous law of 1977 but has not been universally welcomed. It states that new parties wishing to register will be vetted by a committee of judges rather than the ruling party cronies who did so in the past. This should ensure that new parties have a greater likelihood of being approved.
For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.
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