Citizens International

Egyptian president forms committee to amend Islamic constitution

The new Egyptian president has formed a committee of legal experts to propose amendments to the country’s constitution, which states that the nation must be governed by the principles of Islamic law.

On Saturday, Adly Mahmoud Mansour named the 10-member committee — six judges and four constitutional law professors — that will propose amendments to the constitution, which was drafted during the one-year term of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

Committee members will suggest amendments within 30 days. Then a second 50-member committee of public figures, politicians, unionists, and religious figures will review those amendments in the following 60 days.

After this three-month process, Egyptians will vote on the proposed amendments in a referendum.

The drafting of the constitution was one of the thorniest issues during the brief term of Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected president.

Morsi and his supporters wanted an Islamic constitution for the Muslim-majority nation but Morsi’s opponents argued for a secular charter.

In December 2012, about 64 percent of voters approved the constitution in a two-round referendum.

After about six months, the Egyptian army ousted Morsi, a former leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, in a military coup.

In a televised speech late on the night of July 3, Egyptian army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced that Morsi was no longer in office and declared that the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Mansour, had been appointed as the new interim president of Egypt. The army also suspended the constitution.

Army officials said Morsi, who took office in June 2012, was being held “preventively” by the military. On July 4, Mansour was sworn in as interim president.

The Muslim Brotherhood has declined to negotiate with the new administration, saying they can only hold talks after Morsi is reinstated as president. They argue that the only legitimate constitution is the one voted on and ratified in December.

On July 5, Muslim Brotherhood supreme leader Mohammed Badie said the coup against Morsi was illegal and millions would remain on the street until he is reinstated.

Badie vowed to “complete the revolution” that toppled the Western-backed regime of former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

The Egyptians launched a revolution against the pro-Israeli regime on January 25, 2011, which eventually brought an end to the 30-year dictatorship of Mubarak on February 11, 2011.