FILE - An Egyptian man displays the voting paper that says "Do you approve the constitutional amendments?" during the referendum on the new constitution at the Egypt Consulate abroad, 2014 - Reuters
CAIRO – 16 April 2019: The parliamentary legislative subcommittee, headed by Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal, approved on Sunday a set of proposed constitutional amendments paving the way for the Parliament to hold a final vote on them on Tuesday.
The approved amendments expand each of the two presidential terms allowed for any president to six years instead of four, while a separate transitional article gives an exceptional right to incumbent President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who was re-elected in 2018, to run for a third 6-year term after he finishes his second term in 2024 instead of 2022.
Abdel Aal affirmed many times that President Sisi did not ask for amending Article No. 140 extending the presidential term.
"I have repeatedly said … that the president did not intervene in the amendments and did not request them, but [they] were a pure parliamentary seedling … that began since the first year of the House of Representatives’ [term],” the speaker said.
The amendments also give the president the right to choose heads of courts, judicial bodies, the Supreme Constitutional Court, and the Attorney General, Egypt's top prosecutor from some nominees. He would also appoint one third of the members of the Shura Council, which was revived, this time under the name "The Senate."
Although the Parliament has not yet approved the final report of amendments wrote by its legislative subcommittee, sources told the state's Ahram Online that a public referendum will be held next week.
Egypt Today displays the articles approved:
Article 102, Paragraph 1
The House of Representatives shall consist of at least 450 members, elected through direct and secret ballot. At least quarter the number of the parliamentary seats shall be given to women.
Article 102, Paragraph 3
The law shall specify the other conditions of nomination (for the Parliament), the electoral system, and the division of the constituencies, while taking into consideration the fair representation of the population and the governorates.
Nomination for the Parliament can take place through single-member election or multi-member election, or both together.
Article 140, Paragraph 1
The president of the republic shall be elected for a term of six Gregorian years, starting on the day following the expiry of his predecessor's term, and may not hold office for more than two consecutive terms.
Transitional Article No. 241 bis
The term of the current president of the republic shall expire six years after the date of the announcement of his election as president of the republic in 2018, and he may be re-elected for a next term.
Article 151 bis: (NEW)
The president of the republic can appoint one or more deputies, determine their terms of reference, and may delegate some of his terms of reference to them. He can also relieve them of their posts and accept their resignations.
The provisions of the Constitution in articles 141, 144, 145, 148 and 173 shall apply to the vice-presidents.
Article 160, Paragraph 1:
If a temporary impediment prevents the president of the republic from performing his duties, he shall be (temporarily) replaced by the vice-president of the republic or by the prime minister when there is no vice-president or when the vice-president cannot replace the president (then).
Article 160, Paragraph 2
No one replacing the president of the republic or the acting president can request amending the Constitution, dissolving the House of Representatives or the Senate, or dismissing the Government. Also, the interim president of the republic cannot run for this position.
Each of the judicial bodies or authorities shall have its own affairs, and shall be consulted concerning the draft laws regulating its affairs; each of these bodies shall have an independent budget.
The president of the republic shall appoint the heads of the judicial bodies or authorities, out of the oldest seven deputies of each of the heads, for a period of four years, or until their retirement age, whichever is earlier, and for one time throughout their terms of office, as regulated by law.
A supreme council for the judicial authorities headed by the president of the republic shall hold these authorities' common affairs. The members of the council would include the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, the heads of the judicial authorities, the head of Cairo Appeal Court, and the Attorney-General.
The council shall have a secretary who is appointed by the president of the republic for a period of time specified by the law.
In the absence of the president of the republic, he shall be replaced temporarily by who he authorizes from among the heads of the judicial authorities.
Article 189, Paragraph 2
The Public Prosecutor shall be appointed by a decision of the president of the republic out of three nominees from the Supreme Judicial Council, the deputy heads of the Court of Cassation and the heads of the courts of appeal and the assistant attorneys for a period of four years or until reaching retirement age, whichever comes first, and for once.
The State Council is an independent judicial body exclusively concerned with the adjudication of administrative disputes, disputes concerning the implementation of all its provisions, as well as the adjudication of disciplinary cases and appeals, and the decisions of disciplinary boards. It is also concerned with giving opinions for the legal issues of the bodies determined by the law, revising the draft laws, the decisions that have a legislative character, the draft contracts which the law determines them and their values, and which the state or one of the public authorities are one of their parties.
Article 193 Paragraph 3
The president of the republic shall choose the head of the Constitutional Court from among the five oldest deputy heads of the Court. The president of the republic shall also appoint the deputy head of the Court from among two candidates, one of whom shall be nominated by the general assembly of the Court, while the head of the court shall nominate the other.
The head of the board of commissioners and its members shall be appointed by a decision of the president of the republic based on the nomination of the head of the Court, and after consulting the general assembly of the court, all as prescribed by law.
Article 200, Paragraph 1
The Armed Forces belong to the people, and its mission is to protect the country, preserve its security and territorial integrity, safeguard the constitution and democracy, and preserve the basic elements of the state and its civil character, the people's gains and the rights and liberties of individuals.
Only the state is charged with forming these forces and it is prohibited for any person, authority, body or group to form military or paramilitary formations.
Article 204, Paragraph 2
A civilian shall not be tried before a military court except for crimes that constitute an attack on military installations, camps of the Armed Forces or the like, the facilities that are being protected by the Armed Forces, the military or border areas, the forces' equipment, vehicles, weapons, ammunition, documents, military secrets, its public funds, military factories, or crimes related to recruitment, or crimes that constitute a direct attack on its officers or members for the performance of their duties.
The minister of defense shall be appointed after the approval of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
The State shall ensure that workers and peasants are properly represented in the Parliament as specified by law.
The State shall ensure that the youth, Christians, persons with disabilities and Egyptians residing abroad are represented in an appropriate manner, as specified by law.
Article 244 bis
The provision of the first paragraph of the amended article no. 102 shall come into effect starting from the next legislative term.
New articles concerning the Senate (formerly Shura Council)
Article 248 (NEW)
The Senate shall study and propose what it deems necessary to consolidate the pillars of democracy, social peace, and the basic values of society, besides rights, freedoms and public duties. It is also assigned to deepen the democratic system and expand its fields.
Article 249 (NEW)
The Senate would be consulted in the following cases:
- Proposals for the amendment of one or more articles of the Constitution.
- Drafts of the general plan for social and economic development
- Treaties of peace, alliance and all other treaties related to sovereign rights.
- Draft laws supplementing the Constitution and others referred to the council by the president of the republic.
- Issues related to general policy of the State and its Arab or foreign affairs, which are referred to the council by the president of the republic.
- The Council shall say its opinion about these issues to the president of the republic and the parliament speaker.
- The Senate shall consist of a number of members specified by law, not less than 180 members. Two-thirds of the members of the Council shall be elected by direct secret vote, while the president of the republic shall appoint the remaining third. The elections shall be held in accordance with the law.
- Nominees for membership of the Senate or those appointed must be Egyptians with civil and political rights, have at least a university qualification or an equivalent, and must not be less than 35 years of age on the day nomination opens.
- An individual cannot be a member of both the Parliament and the Senate.
- The prime minister, his deputy, ministers and other members of the Government cannot be held accountable by the Senate.