Skip to comments.Egypt’s Constitutional Endgame: Where Confusion Is the Rule
Posted on 12/05/2012 5:58:39 AM PST by EBH
Egypts constitutional endgame is upon us. And almost nobody in the country including the documents drafters seems to be truly prepared. On Nov. 22, when President Mohamed Morsi issued his stunning decree granting himself sweeping powers, one of the least publicized aspects of the declaration gave the countrys Constituent Assembly an extra two months to finish drafting the new constitution extending the deadline into early 2013.
One week later, Morsi abruptly and mysteriously shifted tactics. Suddenly the constitution was ready for approval, and a national referendum on the document is now scheduled for Dec. 15.
What followed was something approaching a live televised political farce. In a marathon session on Nov. 30 lasting more than 16 hours and ending after 6 a.m. Cairo time, the assemblys overwhelmingly male and Islamist members sped through and approved each of the 230 articles as if they were desperately trying to meet a looming deadline.
The final document not only doesnt represent any sort of national consensus, it also doesnt even seem to have benefited from proper proofreading. There were words missing and grammatical mistakes. Language suddenly appeared that hadnt been present in any of the multiple proposed drafts. At one point, one of Morsis own legal advisers, Fouad Gadallah, stood up to object to an apparent mistake in the text and was shouted down by the assemblys head.
They werent ready, says Heba Morayef, Egypt director of Human Rights Watch, who estimates that she watched 13 hours of the session. They knew this document wasnt ready and should not have gone forward.
The approved text contains a number of aspects that alarm critics. The issue of equality for women is qualified by the stipulation that women must balance that with their duties to the home. Laws dealing with womens rights must not contradict Sharia Islamic jurisprudence. And al-Azhar, the highest seat of learning in Sunni Islam, now plays a vaguely defined role in vetting any laws that might touch on Sharia, raising the prospect of unelected religious authorities holding sway over democratically elected lawmakers.
On the plus side, there are new and solid protections against arbitrary detention and torture by the police. But a clause outlawing military trials for civilians was mysteriously watered down at the last minute and approved with minimal debate.
The effect of the apparent shotgun approval on Egypts already chaotic and unstable political scene has been dramatic. Even before the sudden constitutional stratagem, Tahrir Square had been filled for days with angry demonstrators protesting Morsis perceived dictatorial power grab. Egypts judges had already been up in arms over the decree, which robbed them of any oversight over the Presidents decisions or the status of the Constituent Assembly.
The intense street action has been driven up a level, with many protesters openly labeling the controversy the start of the second Egyptian revolution. Numerous independent newspapers and satellite-television channels went on strike Tuesday, ceasing publication or broadcasting blank screens. As of Tuesday evening in Cairo, several large protest marches from around the city were converging on the presidential palace at one point fighting through barrages of tear gas fired by police.
Meanwhile, the judges seem to be struggling to come to terms with Morsis power play. Several judicial districts have gone on strike, and the Judges Club an unofficial body has sworn that its members would not act as monitors for the upcoming constitutional referendum. However, the Supreme Judicial Council has publicly pledged that it would order judges and prosecutors to serve as electoral supervisors, raising the prospect of open fissures within the judiciary and possible disciplinary action for those judges who refuse to supervise the voting. A Dec. 2 session of the Supreme Constitutional Court was effectively sabotaged by crowds of Morsi supporters who surrounded the courthouse and prevented many of the judges from entering the building.
In a way, the constitution-drafting process has gone much the same route as the preceding 23 months since Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power in February 2011: lots of confusion, mixed signals and divisiveness followed by rapid deadlines that leave no room for debate or consensus building.
That tone was first set back in March 2011, when the Muslim Brotherhood mobilized its cadres to approve a national referendum that set the country toward fast-track parliamentary elections before a constitution could be written. The tactic was immediately decried as a cynical Brotherhood ploy designed to give the Islamist group and its decades-old grassroots machine an electoral advantage over the newer postrevolutionary political forces.
That parliamentary election, one year ago, produced an overwhelming Islamist majority. The parliament was dissolved in the summer of 2012 on a technicality by the Supreme Constitutional Court, sparking the current war between the Muslim Brotherhood and the judiciary. But the damage had been done, since the parliament had already selected the members of the Constituent Assembly, stacking the body with Islamists.
By fast-tracking the constitution, Morsi and his supporters seem to be essentially giving up on the entire idea of national consensus. The Constituent Assembly had been plagued from the start by mass withdrawals from secularist and Christian members, who said their minority viewpoints were being ignored. Now a decision appears to have been made by the Brotherhood and its Salafi allies to simply forge ahead regardless.
The Islamists had the numbers within the Constituent Assembly to approve basically anything they wanted. And once the referendum comes, they feel they will be able to marshal more than enough votes to get the document approved. Theres a sort of confident arrogance that comes with the certainty that they know they can mobilize voters, said Morayef, of Human Rights Watch.
Murisi won by the same percentage as Obama.Now,they both think they’re dictators.
To Egyptians everywhere, I say no need to worry. It's not like there were any really BIG problems, like 1099 reporting requirements for just about any amount of Egyptian-whatever "dollars", or a new mandate to buy burka insurance...
Confident and arrogant exactly describe Nancy Pelosi, when she stated that members of Congress had to vote for Obama Care, before they could find out what was in it. It also sounds like the current administration, when it never allows a budget, passed by the House, to be voted on in the Senate, and then blames “Congress”, knowing full well that the House has done its job, but Harry Reid and the Democratically controlled Senate has prevented the passing of a national budget for the last four years.
Despite the Constitution stating that all spending measures must originate in the House, Reid allowed Obama's proposed budgets a vote. Each of which were voted down, the last to a vote of 98-0. The Senate has done nothing. The ultimate insult is that Obama and the MSM then blame “Congress”, not the Senate for not passing a budget. All we can do is hope that the people will wake up and realize we are following the same followed by the Weimar Republic, as the Nazis used thuggery to put themselves in complete control of Germany.
It's strange. The House usually reflects the current mood of the nation, since the members are elected by congressional district. The vast majority of its members are conservative, yet the presidential election did not reflect this.
Maybe we need a Constitutional Amendment that states that all electoral votes shall be assigned per the majority vote in each congressional district, and electoral votes cast by congressional district. The two electoral votes assigned each state per senator would be divided according to eacg senator's party. If a state had one Democrat and one Republican senator, the two votes would be split. This would really reflect the vote of the country, rather than the current winner take all system that exist in all but four states.
A large city could report 110% of the vote for a candidate, but this would not negate the vote of the rest of the state. That congressional district would only be voting for their elector, not imposing their will on the the rest of a state.
And when the dust finally settles...
....there will be an Islamic dictatorship swimming in sharia law;
...complete with severed hands and heads.
Now let's talk about Egypt....
This sounds vaguely familiar. Our Congress has not passed a budget in three years, the Fiscal Cliff is looming, and Obama is so Hell-bent on taxing the "rich" that he will not make any compromise before Congress leaves D.C. for the holidays. I heard him say this morning that a full tax reform may take several years to be worked out, but he wants to start by taxing the "rich" now. Meanwhile, we reach the cliff in a few weeks. The coming crash and 2nd revolution is going to be interesting.
Morsi is being called a dictator in Egypt tonight...
It is interesting that 0bama is not being called that today.
Especially after the last few days of ‘stunts’ he has pulled.
There is nothing the GOP brings to the table that the regime will consider. All offers will be rejected and then the GOP will be blamed for the failure.
I’ve worked for bosses like this....quitting is the only answer.
Why in heaven’s name can America not see what the democrats have become?
lots of confusion, mixed signals and divisiveness followed by rapid deadlines that leave no room for debate or consensus building.
Sounds familiar, very much like the current administration.
“Why in heavens name can America not see what the democrats have become?”
Because too many have been brainwashed by the communist-inspired media and schools over the past 50 years. They think the government “owes them” and like the baker’s union that drove the Hostess company to bankruptcy, they don’t give a damn what happens to anyone else but themselves. Read my tagline.
“they dont give a damn what happens to anyone else but themselves.”
The other day I spoke with an elderly neighbor. We were chatting about the new tax on the rain that falls on our roof....(another time.)
And she made mention she thought 0bama was right to tax the rich more. When I said but it only will pay for 8 days of running our government, very seriously she looked at me and said....
“Well, they can afford it,” and shrugged.
I mentioned the new tax on selling your home that was imbedded in the 0bamacare bill, her response was...
“I’m not selling, why do I care?”
Now, this is an elderly person that over the years we’ve chatted often about the moral decay of society. To hear these responses and I don’t care attitude was shocking to me.
You are right, they don’t care. And you know, I’m not sure one can ‘save ...I don’t care folks.’ Willful ignorance is what I call it and to me ...being willfully ignorant is treason. Rush calls them low inforamtion voters, I think he is wrong on the one.