- President Mohamed Morsi's Constitutional Decree - December 9, 2012 (Arabic) (English)
- Final Draft of Constitution, published November 29, 2012 (Arabic) (English) (Audio)
- President Mohamed Morsi's Constitutional Decree - November 22, 2012 (Arabic) (English)
- Draft of the Constitution, published October 24, 2012) (Arabic)
- Draft of the Constitution, published October 16, 2012 (Arabic) (English)
- President Mohamed Morsi's Decree Pardoning January 25 Prisoners - October 8 (English) (Arabic)
- President Mohamed Morsi's Constitutional Declaration - August 12 (English) (Arabic)
- President Mohamed Morsi’s Decree reinstating the dissolved parliament – July 8 (English) (Arabic)
- Renaissance (Nahda) Project (English)
- Morsi Meter (English) (Arabic)
- SCAF Amendments to Interim Constitution - June 17, 2012 (English) (Arabic)
- Interim Constitution (full text, English and Arabic), ratified by popular referendum on March 23, 2011)
- Law on the Presidential Election, No. 174, 2005 (Arabic)
- Electoral laws for the People’s Assembly and Shura Council (full text, Arabic, amended July 19, 2011)
- Law on Non-Governmental Organizations, No. 84/2002 (English)
- Law on the People’s Assembly, amended October 2011 (PDF, Arabic)
- Supra-Constitutional Principles (English) (Arabic)
- The Final Draft Wording of the Articles on Defense and National Security in the New Constitution (English) (Arabic)
- Leaked Articles of the Draft Constitution (English)
Egyptian Government Resources
- Official Facebook page of President Mohamed Morsi (Arabic)
- Official Facebook page of Prime Minister Hesham Qandil (Arabic)
- Official Facebook page of Presidential Spokesman Yasser Ali (Arabic)
- Official Facebook page of the Supreme Council of the Armed forces (Arabic)
- Official website of the Cabinet (English) (Arabic)
- Ministry of Interior (English) (Arabic)
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs (English) (Arabic)
- Ministry of Finance (English) (Arabic)
- Ministry of International Cooperation (Arabic)
- Ministry of Social Solidarity (Arabic)
- Ministry of Information (Arabic)
- Ministry of Industry & Foreign Trade (English) (Arabic)
- Ahram Weekly (English)
- Egypt Independent (English)
- Daily News Egypt (English)
- Ahram Online (English)
- Akhbar al-Youm (Arabic)
- Ahram (Arabic)
- Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
- al-Masry al-Youm (Arabic)
- al-Shorouk (Arabic)
- al-Wafd (Arabic)
- Masrawy (Arabic)
- EGYNews (Arabic)
Think Tanks and NGOs:
- al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (English)
- Arab Forum for Alternatives (English) (Arabic)
- Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (English) (Arabic)
- Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (English) (Arabic)
- Adl (Justice)
- al-Asala (Authenticity)
- Building and Development
- Democratic Front
- al-Dostour (Constitution)
- Freedom and Justice
- Ghad (Tomorrow)
- Ittihad (Union)
- Karama (Dignity)
- al-Masriyin al-Ahrar (Free Egyptians)
- Masr al-Hurriya (Egypt Freedom)
- Nour (Light)
- Popular Alliance
- Reform and Development
- Social Democratic
- Sufi Liberation
- al-Tayar al-Masry (Egyptian Current)
On April 10, the Administrative Court in Cairo ruled to stop the implementation of parliamentary speaker Saad al-Katatny’s formation of the constituent assembly in response to a number of lawsuits challenging the legitimacy and constitutionality of the highly controversial body. The lawsuit is just the latest blow the legitimacy of the assembly, which has seen at least twenty members resign over concerns that liberals and minorities are underrepresented on the 100-member body that will draft Egypt's next constitution. Revolutionaries and campaigners celebrated the decision although it consists only of a preliminary injunction pending further judicial review. In issuing this ruling, the Court has in effect altered the course of the transition by practically forcing the presidential elections to take place before the drafting of the constitution, thus allowing the new president a significant role in the process, and by extension the future course of Egypt.
A number of respected lawyers, including Gad Nasser, professor of constitutional law at Cairo University, and Sameh Ashour, the head of the Lawyers’ Syndicate, challenged the constituent assembly selection process on the basis of a 1994 Supreme Constitutional Court decision that prohibited members of parliament from electing themselves – implying that the body can only consist of figures outside of the Shura Council and the People’s Assembly, meaning that the parliament's decision to reserve 50 seats for its own members would be unlawful. Legal scholars praised the Court’s ruling, hoping that it might force the Islamist dominated parliament to choose members that represent Egypt’s diverse demographic rather than only its Islamic political current. Revolutionaries and liberal have also regained hope that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces would return to the barracks and relinquish control over the constitutional drafting process to a civilian executive.
Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maksoud, the Muslim Brotherhood's lawyer, vowed to appeal the Court’s decision that he claims, “…was in breach of all established constitutional principles, and prevailing judicial norms.” By arguing that the formation of the constituent assembly remained a parliamentary action, and not an administrative decision, he feels confident that the Court of Appeals will invalidate the Administrative Court’s ruling. (Interestingly, Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) Chairman Dr. Mohamed Morsi expressed respect for the judicial suspension and denied claims that the FJP would challenge the ruling.) Although it remains unclear at this point whether the Muslim Brotherhood’s legal challenges on behalf of the parliament will reclaim their political advantage, the Supreme Constitutional Court seems the only judicial body that will ultimately settle the legal spat.
Barring a protracted legal battle, the resulting situation confronts parliament with a choice: either replace the parliamentarians on the constituent assembly with Muslim Brotherhood loyalists, or genuinely work with the full spectrum of scholars, civil society, workers’ representatives, and religious institutions to draft a fair, legitimate, and lasting constitution. Given, however, the that the Court has effectively ensured that a new president would take office first, the possibility of directing the terms governing the formation of the new assembly from the executive branch may induce the FJP to refocus its efforts on Khairat al-Shater’s presidential campaign. With a number of candidates that could potentially split the Islamist vote, this tactic would prove risky. Losing the election to an anti-Muslim Brotherhood candidate would certainly derail the full control that the FJP has enjoyed over the constitutional process.
It should be obvious to the Egyptian parliament that the welfare of the country as a whole must take precedence over party affiliations or political ambitions. Choosing a truly diverse membership for the constituent assembly not only supports a real democratic and representative foundation for the country that meets the demands of the revolution, but it would also sidestep the risk of a personality such as presidential candidate and former spy chief Omar Suleiman from usurping the process and choosing a course that satisfies neither the revolutionaries nor parliamentarians. For the FJP, it may even restore some of the legitimacy lost in the eyes of the public after breaking its promise not to field a presidential candidate.
Tarek Radwan is an Egyptian human rights activist specializing in international law and conflict resolution. He has worked for Human Rights Watch's MENA division and the United Nations mission (UNAMID) in Darfur as a Human Rights Officer. He currently provides consulting services on civilian protection and Middle East issues.
Photo Credit: Al-Arabiya
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EgyptSource, a project of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, follows Egypt’s transition and provides a platform for Egyptian perspectives on the major issues – economic, political, legal, religious and human rights – that are at stake in the post-Mubarak era.
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About the Contributors
Alaa Al Aswany, the Arab world's bestselling novelist, is the author of The Yacoubian Building, Chicago, and Friendly Fire. His work is published in thirty-one languages worldwide. Read his EgyptSource posts here.
Yussef Auf is an Egyptian judge and 2012 Humphrey Fellow at American University’s Washington College of Law. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Constitutional Law and Political Systems at Cairo University. Read his EgyptSource posts here.
Amr Hamzawy joined the Department of Public Policy and Administration at the American University in Cairo in 2011, where he continues to serve today. He is a former member of parliament and a member of the National Salvation Front. Read his EgyptSource posts here.
Haitham Tabei is a special correspondent for the Washington Post and Asharq Saudi newspaper in Cairo.
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