Thursday, December 5, 2013

New Egyptian Constitution looks to prevent another Islamic Regime

Egypt's amended constitution, set to be presented to the president on Tuesday, would scale back the influence of Islamic law, enshrine the privileged status of the military and do little to check the resurgent power of police. 
The major changes in the document appear intended to prevent another Islamist surge in politics and to grant the military and security forces powers to temper civilian rule. Experts said it essentially reverts back to the old order, adding some updated language with vague assurances on political freedoms such as protesting.
The rewriting of the constitution has been at the center of Egypt's political power struggles since the ouster of longtime authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak nearly three years ago. 
President Mohammed Morsi, whose fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood dominated elections that followed the uprising, appointed an Islamist-controlled committee to draft a 2012 amended constitution that gave Islamic law greater prominence.
However Mr. Morsi and his group were accused of monopolizing power and the military pushed him from power on July 3 after massive street protests. He was succeeded by an interim government appointed by the military, which then cracked down on Islamists. 
The new constitution, amended over five months behind closed doors, bans political parties based on religious identity—a clear blow to Islamists. 
Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour (R) receiving 
the draft Constitution from Amr Mussa Chairman 
of the Egyptian Constitutional Panel
Interim President Adly Mansour, who was appointed by the military after Mr. Morsi's ouster, is expected to approve the charter and put it to a national referendum this month or in January. 
The vote will be a test of whether opposition groups can muster the momentum to stop ratification at a time when Egyptians are showing increasing apathy toward politics, less tolerant of protests and eager to return to normal life.
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