Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Regarding the Constitutional Amendments Jazz “1”

Since the announcement of the proposed constitutional amendments and the date of the referendum and there has been this huge debate between between the “Yes” team and “No” team.  The referendum will be held on March 19,2011 across the country after 3 days . The voting will be by the National ID not by the voting id as it is referendum,the thing which is assured by the government over and over. Accordingly all Egyptians over 18 years old are eligible to participate in the referendum. The army is warning that it will not allow any kind of protest on that day and it is also thinking of suspending all media coverage about the referendum from Thursday.

Next Saturday will be an official holiday in Egypt. The referendum committee has launched a wonderful website where you can find the nearest voting committee and report any forgery in the process. There is a campaign online now to organize public committees to monitor the referendum. The referendum will be fully monitored by judges. 16,000 judges will monitor not less than 40,000 committees all over the country.

In brief this referendum can have “insh Allah” the highest turnout in the history of referendum in Egypt especially that current debate has made many people in Egypt from silent majority interested more and more in the political process in the country. Already it is expected that not less than 40 million Egyptians to participate in this referendum “ From those who have national ID and eligible to vote , members of judiciary , army and police forces are excluded”

There are certain good and bad things about hot intense debate. This is the first indicator that the country is moving toward a real democracy , we are having for the first the real political debate and difference genuinely. Egyptians for the first time do not know the result in advance and for the first time we feel that our vote will count.This is the best thing ever in this whole debate.

But on the other hand we still have this school of making the other team as the villain and traitor who is working against the country , we do not want this. Yes we are all different but being different from you does not mean I am your enemy , this is so Mubarak regime. This is the essence of democracy which we fought the Mubarak’s regime for. I do not want to hear from “No” team that the “Yes” team is the remnants of Mubarak’s regime and from the “Yes” team that the “No” team has got an agenda !! Update : I do not want someone tells me a Fatwa here and there about what I should say in the referendum.

Another thing since day one of announcing this committee ,  its members have been under fire as you may know for silly reasons since day one. Already I found this link about Al Bishry in English and I would like to share it  with now because it is very informative about Al Bishry himself. The committee formed under the supervision of Omar Soliman did not face this criticism despite we did not trust them as they were part of another hopeless by Mubarak and Soliman to stay in power “With my all respect to all its members especially Ibrahim Darwish and their intentions” . I know if the committee was made of angels not even prophets ,they will also face criticism. I will not accept criticism of those who used to kiss Mubarak’s shoes in the media when they attack someone like El-Bishry just because of his political views nothing more and nothing else.

For the 100th time these are temporary amendments , if they are accepted , this will not mean that we will return back the Constitution of 1971 , they  will help us to have a parliament and a president in this transitional  period till we have a real complete constitution made by an elected committee.

9 constitutional articles will be amended from the constitution of 1971 : 75 , 76 , 77,88,93,139,179,148,189 “Repeated”. Here is the a brief summary in Arabic about the proposed constitution amendments in Arabic in an easy way. Also here is another summary from the official AFC FB itself.

In nutshell the amended constitution will be as follows :

  • Article No. 75 : The person to be elected as the President of the Republic must be an Egyptian born to Egyptian parents and enjoy civil and political rights. He or either of his parents must not have held citizenship in any other country and he must not be married to a non-Egyptian. His age must not be less than 40 Gregorian years

Now there is a lot of debate about the Egyptian nationality , ancestry and marriage thing. Thank God we have passed and clarified the gender point.You must know that these conditions are also enlisted in the conditions of joining the army and diplomatic services in even harder way as it reaches to the grandparents too. The President of Egypt is the commander of the armed forces and the army mentioned in its FB note that this article was made like that to ensure the maximum loyalty and  The marriage condition is not a new thing by the way , in fact believe or not King Ahmed Fouad I added us well that the king of Egypt and Sudan should be married to an Egyptian and his crown prince should be mothered by an Egyptian. According to the committee most world countries have these condition in a way or another , of course someone will bring the States and the answer is ready : The States is a considerable young nation and its structure is built upon immigrants. People usually ignore that even in the States the President must be born in the US territory. 

Of course people spoke that this article was amended specifically to prevent Dr. Ahmed Zowail who got an American citizenship and is married to to Syrian lady !!?  With my all respect already Ahmed Zowail was not and is not the best candidate for presidency and there are so many reasons other than this amendment , Zowail was being used in the media by some to hit Dr.ElBaradei.

Strangely all the people kept speaking about Gamal Mubarak’s British passport and were wondering on how the President of Egypt would have another passport from foreign country just like his businessmen ministers !!!?? Did not we have that debate about the Saudi passport of Maghrebi ? I think we all remember this. Also do you remember how people did not welcome the marriage of Egyptians to Israelis and they brought the presidential candidacy to the matter !!?  To be honest I was surprised with this big debate when from couple of months we loved to remind the people Gamal Mubarak with the British passport and how he can’t be the commander of chief of the Egyptian army !!!!??

I think the right of Egyptians abroad to vote is more important now , especially now than the ancestry of our president and the nationality of his wife . Already again this article can be and will be amended in the new constitution. This is only for the transitional period for God sake !!

  • Article no.76 : The candidate will be eligible to run for the office if he gets the following {the support of 30 members of the people assembly or the Shura council or both or the support of 30,000 voters at least in 15 governorates where not less than 1000 voter in each governorate to ensure his or her popularity or that he or she is a member of a party represented in either the Upper house or lower house by at least one seat.}

The article also includes the formation of the presidential elections committee. In the amendment it will be only made from judiciary figures. Of course this is a positive amendment considering the fact that during Mubarak that bloody article “longest constitutional article in the world and history” was tailored specifically to fit the NDP candidate only who was Gamal Mubarak.

  • Article No.77 : The presidential term is only 4 years and the President has only one successive time to run again.

Again this article in the past was terrible as the presidential term was 6 years for here to eternity !! Regardless of the “Yes” or “No” teams , most people agree on this amendment from the principle of the 4 years but I have met someone who believe it was too short to have at the current time , Egypt is not the States. He believes we can have 5 or 6 “like France” for 2 Presidential terms to give the president now enough time.

Now there is a confusion because there is an article “ No.190” in the suspended constitution of 1971 that says that the president ends his presidential day after 6 years of the announcement of his presidential term. According to legal experts this article is not importance because it will be amended by nature  plus the constitution of 1971 is already suspended.

The constitutional declaration the army declared on  February 13th,2011 has already suspended the constitution 1971. According to the legal expert of AFC Maj. General Mamdouh Shahin the constitution was suspended when Omar Soliman announced the step down declaration and the army declared its third communiqué on February 11,2011. Shahin argues that the constitution was suspended when Mubarak delegated the AFC to rule the company when constitutionally the speaker  of the parliament should take his place and if he can’t do it ,if not the speaker of the parliament then the head of the constitutional court should fill it.

  • Article No. 88: Complete judicial supervision on the elections
  • Article No. 93: The people’s assembly is committed to the provisions of the Constitutional Court concerning the validity of its members’ seats.

Nobody argues about these amendments.

  • Article No. 193 : The president is obliged to appoint a vice president.

To be honest when we spoke about the constitution amendments in the past , we usually forgot it. Ayman Nour spoke about the need of electing the vice president as well, of course we can discuss it later.

  • Article No. 179 : The counter terrorism article is completely cancelled.
  • Article No.148 : The president will not announce the emergency status except after a referendum and the emergency status will not be more than 6 months.

There is a lot of debate about the coming  article no. 189 repeated

  • Article No.189 repeated : All the elected members of the first people’s assembly and the Shura council will elect a committee of members from legal personalities and public personalities to put a new constitution in the next 6 months once elected.

I prefer to speak about this article and the criticism about it in a separate post.

Now believe or not whether the result is Yes or No will not mean the end of Egypt or the revolution. I will elaborate more insh Allah in another post.

I believe the real main difference point between the “Yes” and “No” teams is the timeframe, “Yes” wants a shorter time frame while “No” wants more time. The army is ready for both results with ready made scenarios.

In case of No the army will have to declare another constitutional declaration that will act as a temporary constitution. The army then will see forming another committees.. etc.

In case of yes we will have a parliament and a president by the end of 6 months and the army will go back to its barracks.

9 comments:

  1. Hi Zeinobia, Regarding Nobel Laureate chemist Ahmed Zewail. It's a little complicated, but Mohamed El Naschie is in a furious uproar against a possible Zewail candidacy and is planning to sue him for plagiarism. I have sent Ahmed Zewail an email about the situation and offering my assistance.

    Nothing against ElBaradei, but Zewail also would make a fine president. He's an extremely smart, accomplished man of substance. A brilliant scientist and technocrat. If Egypt is to be a meritocracy he's worth considering. (Of course, as you point out, there's the problem with Article 75 because his wife is Syrian.)

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  2. هذا المقال يوضح حقائق حول التعديلات الدستورية ستساعدا على أتخاذ قرارك بالتصويت بنعم أو لا

    صحيح أن التعديلات المقترحة لم تستبعد فكرة وضع دستور جديد، بل ألزمت مؤسسات الدولة بضرورة الانتهاء من صياغة هذا الدستور خلال فترة زمنية قد لا تتجاوز ثمانية عشر شهراً من الآن، غير أن الدستور الجديد لن يصاغ ويصبح نافذ المفعول إلا بعد انتخابات تشريعية ورئاسية تجرى على أساس الدستور القديم، وهنا مكمن الخطر.. ولكى تتضح هذه المسألة بجلاء لا يحتمل اللبس تعالوا نستعرض المنطق الذى بنى عليه نص التعديلات المطلوب إدخالها على المادتين «١٨٩» و«١٨٩» مكرر ونحاول تبيّن دلالاتها وما قد تفضى إليه من نتائج، وذلك على النحو التالى:

    ١- فنص المادة «١٨٩» بعد التعديل يقول: «لكل من رئيس الجمهورية، وبعد موافقة مجلس الوزراء، ولنصف أعضاء مجلسى الشعب والشورى طلب إصدار دستور جديد، وتتولى جمعية تأسيسية من مائة عضو، ينتخبهم أعضاء المجلسين من غير المعينين فى اجتماع مشترك، إعداد مشروع الدستور فى موعد غايته ستة أشهر من تاريخ تشكيلها، ويعرض رئيس الجمهورية المشروع خلال خمسة عشر يوما من إعداده على الشعب لاستفتائه فى شأنه، ويُعمل بالدستور من تاريخ إعمال موافقة الشعب عليه فى الاستفتاء»

    ٢- أما نص المادة «١٨٩ مكرر» بعد التعديل فيقول: «يجتمع الأعضاء غير المعينين لأول مجلسى شعب وشورى تاليين لإعلان نتيجة الاستفتاء على تعديل الدستور لاختيار الجمعية التأسيسية المنوط بها إعداد مشروع الدستور الجديد خلال ستة أشهر من انتخابهم، وذلك كله وفقا لأحكام الفقرة الأخيرة من المادة ١٨٩»

    ويتضح من نص هاتين المادتين ما يلى: ١- يتعين إجراء انتخابات برلمانية لمجلسى الشعب والشورى قبل البدء فى أى إجراءات تستهدف صياغة دستور جديد.

    ٢- أن هذه الانتخابات ستجرى وفقا لأحكام دستور مجمد يشترط أن يكون نصف الأعضاء المنتخبين من العمال والفلاحين، ويخصص للمرأة حصة كبيرة من مقاعد مجلس الشعب.

    ٣- أن الأعضاء المنتخبين فى البرلمان القادم، بمجلسيه، سيتولون بأنفسهم اختيار الجمعية التأسيسية التى ستكلَّف بوضع الدستور الجديد، والبالغ عددها مائة عضو.

    ولأن نص المادتين المشار إليهما لم يضع قيودا على كيفية اختيار أعضاء اللجنة التأسيسية فليس من المستبعد إطلاقا أن يتم اختيارهم جميعا من الأعضاء المنتخبين فى البرلمان ببنيته القديمة!

    غير أن الشكل المعيب للتعديلات المقترحة لا يكتمل إلا إذا أضفنا إلى ما سبق مجموعة أخرى من الاعتبارات، أهمها: ١- أن هذه التعديلات أُدخلت على دستور معطل بموجب بيان صادر من المجلس الأعلى للقوات المسلحة.

    ٢- أن التصويت عليها بـ«نعم» فى الاستفتاء معناه إعادة الحياة لدستور معطل يمنح رئيس الجمهورية سلطات وصلاحيات هائلة يخشى معها إعادة إنتاج نظام الاستبداد القديم برمته.

    ٣- أنه سيكون بوسع رئيس الجمهورية الذى ستفرزه الانتخابات الرئاسية القادمة، التى يتعين حتماً إجراؤها قبل نهاية المرحلة الانتقالية، ممارسة تأثير مباشر على عمل اللجنة التأسيسية، خصوصاً بالنسبة للمواد المتعلقة بصلاحياته وفترة ولايته.

    ٤- أن الفترة المخصصة لمناقشة الدستور الجديد من جانب الرأى العام، وقدرها خمسة عشر يوماً، لا تكفى لضمان مشاركة شعبية واسعة فى هذه المناقشة.

    ٥- أن إقرار الدستور الجديد سيترتب عليه حتماً إجراء انتخابات برلمانية ورئاسية جديدة، خصوصاً إذا أسس لنظام برلمانى بدلاً من النظام الرئاسى الحالى، وجاء خالياً من نسبة العمال والفلاحين ومن المقاعد المخصصة للمرأة، وهو ما يعنى تنظيم انتخابات برلمانية ورئاسية مرتين خلال عام واحد.

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  3. فى سياق كهذا يبدو واضحاً أن التعديلات الدستورية المقترحة ستُدخل البلاد فى متاهة، ولن تؤدى بالضرورة إلى انتهاج أقصر الطرق لتأسيس نظام ديمقراطى جديد. لذا يعتقد كثيرون، وأنا واحد منهم، أنه كان من الأفضل أن يشرع المجلس الأعلى للقوات المسلحة على الفور فى اتخاذ الإجراءات اللازمة لانتخاب جمعية تأسيسية لوضع دستور جديد، بدلاً من الاستفتاء على تعديلات دستورية محدودة لا تستهدف سوى تذليل العقبات التى كانت تحول فى الماضى دون إجراء انتخابات برلمانية ورئاسية جديدة.

    ولأن الانتخابات، حتى لو جاءت نزيهة، ليست هدفاً فى ذاتها وإنما وسيلة لاختيار الممثلين الحقيقيين للشعب، وهو أمر يبدو متعذراً قبل السماح للقوى التى ساهمت فى تفجير الثورة بتشكيل أحزابها وطرح برامجها، فلن يكون فى مصلحة أحد إجراء انتخابات برلمانية أو رئاسية إلا بعد أن تهدأ حالة الفوران الحالية، وهو ما يتطلب إطالة المرحلة الانتقالية وإدارتها من خلال مجلس رئاسى.

    بوسع القارئ أن يلاحظ أننى تعمدت الاكتفاء هنا بتحليل النتائج المترتبة على التعديلات المقترحة على المادة ١٨٩ دون بقية المواد، التى لا تخلو بدورها من عيوب، غير أن هذه العيوب هى عيوب يغلب عليها الطابع الفنى، الذى يمكن أن تتباين حوله الاجتهادات، أما عيوب التعديلات المقترحة على المادة ١٨٩ فتتعلق بالمنهج المستخدم وبالشرعية التى تستند إليها. لذا أقترح سحب التعديلات المقترحة، وإلغاء استفتاء ١٩ مارس، والشروع على الفور فى اتخاذ الإجراءات اللازمة لتشكيل جمعية تأسيسية لصياغة دستور جديد. وفى حالة الإصرار على إجراء الاستفتاء أطالب الناخب بالذهاب إلى صناديق الاقتراع والتصويت بـ«لا».

    *نقلاً عن "المصري اليوم"

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  4. الترقيعات الدستوريه لا ترتق الى كل ما يجب تغييره فهى لا تقوض سلطات و مهام السلطه التنفيذيه اى الرئيس و لا تفصل بين مهام السلطه التنفيذيه و التشريعيه اى انها لا تربو ابدا لما يريده الشعب و بالقطع لن تؤدى الى ديمقراطيه حقيقيه و تسلزم مثل هذه التغيرات الى دستور جديد و لهذا السبب تنص الترقيعات على وجوب اصدار دستور جديد بالكامل فى ٦ اشهر لان الجنه تعلم تماما ان الترقيعات لا تكفى و لكن المعضله القانوينه انها لا تنص على ذلك الزاما و هو ما يعنى انه لا توجد ضمانات قانونيه لتشريع دستور جديد فيما بعد و ذلك لا يضمن -من الشكل الدستورى- تحقيق ديمقراطيه حقيقيه . فى حالة رفض الترقيعات يلتزم بانشاء لجنه تاسيسيه لدستور جديد و هو ما كان يجب ان يتم منذ البدايه. عندما تقول ان هذه هى فقط التعديلات التى تتمناها اى كانك تقول ان مصر دوله حقا ديمقراطيه و المشكله الوحيده هى فى طريقة النتخاب و ليس الصلاحيات و هذا منقوص تماما و بعيد عن الصحه. و انا لا اقول عليها ترقيعات من باب السخريه رغم عدم قانونية المصطلح فان التعديلات تكون لدستور فى مجمله سليم و كامل ثم تتم عليها تعديلات نتيجة تغيرات مجتمعيه تستلزم التعديل و لكن عندما يكون الدستور مشوه فلا تجوز عليه تعديلات و ينبغى صياغة دستور جديد. هذا للايضاح من الناحيه القانوني

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  5. المخلصه : اذا كنت تريد فوز فتحى سرور عن دائرة السيده زينب و يكون رئيس للمجلس القادم و مسؤول لجنة صياغة الدستور الجديد فصوت بنعم

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  6. Sorry, Zeinobia, I usually agree with you, but on the question of how much of a difference it will make whether we vote NO or YES, I totally disagree.

    Here's a nice summary why (in Arabic):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqNzSeQUHJI

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  7. I have many comments concerning the amendments.

    First of all, it is a shame that they focus on deails instead of trying to solve the real problems:
    - president excessive powers
    - Half of Parliament lower house "magless elsha3b" shall be peasants or workers
    - no democratic framework

    The fact that the presidential term is 4 years, that a president can be reelected only once, and that he shall have a vice-president (which is an idiocy from my humble point of view) doesnt guarantee a democracy.

    Moreover, the article 75 is a shame.
    A candidate background is known the electors. They are the ones that can choose their president. Concerning loyalty issue, most traitors in Egypt history were pure Egyptians. Besides, all Egypt presidents were married to half-foreign women:
    - Mubarak's wife is half British (mother's side)
    - Sadat's wife is half British (mother's side)
    - Adbdel Nasser's wife was half Iranian (father's side)
    - Neguib was half Sudanese

    Most of Egypt pride relies on "foreign" people:
    - Ahmed Shawqi: Turk-Greek origin
    - Ahmed Taymur: Turk-Kurd origin
    - Mahmud Sami ElBarudi: Circassian-Turk origin

    By the way, army officers are allowed to marry foreign women with an authorization (I personally know two officers married to foreigners: one to an American and one to a French). Contrary to what Tarek ElBeshri said, judges are allowed to have another nationality and are allowed to marry foreign women (again I know 5 judges like that).

    The president shall not be the purest Egyptian (otherwise only a Coptic minority could present a candidate since they are the purest Egyptians); he shall be the best for the position, meet Egyptian needs, and protect Egypt's interests.

    We need a true constitution that is based on democratic principles, freedom, accountability, and meritocracy, not have a temporary constitution (what guarantees you that there will be a new constitution?)

    These amendments which should have been the revolution fruit can be compared to the mountain that gives birth to a mouse.

    I cannot imagine that we still talk about constitutionality of an action, while the army said publicly that the constitution is suspended.
    What constitution are they talking about?
    They told judges to watch referendum although, according to current constitution (which is the reference now), they shall not. Moreover, one of these referendum goals is to make judges watch the elections and referendums. Thus, judges will watch a referendum (which they shall not watch) to be the ones that watch next elections and referendums.
    Dont you think it is a paradox?

    We need a true new constitution.

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  8. @Sakrquraysh, well said. we need new constitution and didnt want any dictator leaders come and use this constitution and be another mubarak for another 30 years!

    those who wants to vote Yes, how sure you are that the next President is not going to use and abuse this now constitution and the unlimited power this constitution give him! its better to have a whole new Constitution even it will take times but the end result will make sure the Egyptian people they are the boss and not the President! Think wisely and use common sense before voting!

    My family members are going to vote 'No' and we want a new Constitution!

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  9. As far as I can tell, the only people who will be voting "Yes" are the Ikhwan, the Salafists, former and current members of the NDP and those who are too ignorant and dumb to resist their propaganda.

    Apparently Alexandria is being flooded with pamphlets informing people that a "Yes" vote will get them into Heaven! God only knows what is going on elsewhere!!

    Sorry if I sound harsh, but how on earth could a reasonable, well-intentioned person agree to amendments that bring back one of the worst, most undemocratic constitutions ever, designed to legalize dictatorship? And then expect the Egyptian people to trust that the dictator elected under this constitution will voluntarily give up his "godlike" powers?

    This constitution was declared null and void the minute the military issued its second communique, because it contains no provision that allows the Armed Forces Council to take over from the president.

    By democratically agreeing to the amendments, the people are being tricked into bringing the dictator's constitution back from the dead and giving it legitimacy. Meanwhile there is NO legally binding condition that says that the new president MUST commission a new constitution.

    But even if there were (and there isn't), who will be commissioning the new constitution? A president with dictatorship powers and/or a parliament dominated by the Ikhwan and the NDP -- the only two sectors who already have the money and organization and experience to run effectively for office.

    The "silent majority" has not had time to mobilize itself into an effective political force, plus don't forget that the law preventing the formation of new political parties and the State of Emergency are still in effect, plus much of the media is still dominated by NDP stooges.

    A "No" vote sends a clear message that the people will not fall for these sneaky tricks and will not accept a new president or parliament until a new, democratic constitution is in effect that limits and clearly defines their powers, and guarantees Egyptians' civil and human rights.

    Throw the old constitution back onto the garbage pile of history where it belongs and stop trying to patch it and bring it back.

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