Meeting of Commission of 50 in the building of the Shura Council.
A draft Egyptian constitution completed on Sunday opens the way for a
presidential election to be held before parliamentary polls, potentially changing the transition plan outlined by the army when it ousted
President Mohamed Morsi.
The original plan said a parliamentary
election should take place before the presidential one. But the draft
constitution avoids stipulating which vote should happen first. The
draft constitution says the "election procedures" must start within six
months from the date of the constitution's ratification, meaning Egypt
may not have an elected president or parliament until the second half of
The change was announced by former Arab League
secretary general Amr Moussa, chairman of the 50-member constituent
assembly, as it completed its final draft on Sunday. The draft must now
be put to a referendum this month or next.
The change leaves it
up to interim President Adly Mansour, to decide which election comes
first, or whether to hold both at the same time. Mansour was installed
as head of state after Mursi's ouster. Critics say he is just a front
for army rule.
The change follows several weeks of debate in the
constituent assembly fuelled by concern that weak secular parties are
not ready for parliamentary elections.
Seeing army chief Abdel
Fattah al-Sisi as the frontrunner for president, some assembly members
want the presidential election held before or with the legislative polls
so that a strong presidential candidate can forge an electoral alliance
for the parliamentary race.
In an earlier voting session on Sunday, the committee did not pass articles 243 and 244, which stipulate that the state decides on the
quota of workers and farmers, as well as Christians and people with
special needs, in parliament. The amended text, which received 44 and 46
votes respectively, stipulated that the aforementioned be granted
Article 229, which stipulates that parliamentary elections be held on a
mixed system — two-thirds allocated for individual candidates and one
third for electoral lists — also did not pass. However, the amended
article which states that parliamentary elections are to be held
according to Article 102, passed with 43 votes.
Article 230, which states that parliamentary elections must be held
after a minimum period of 30 days and a maximum of 90 days after the
constitution is ratified, was also not passed, but later received 44
votes when it didn’t specify whether parliamentary or presidential
elections should be held first.
In teh final version of the constitution the second article states that Islam is the religion of the
state and that Islamic Sharia is the main source of legislation. The
third article states that legislation regarding the personal affairs of
Christians and Jews should be based on their own religious law.
A proposal to refer to “non-Muslims” in the article, rather than
specifying Christians and Jews, was considered by the Assembly but was
Other articles voted for include one that stipulates an ascending
system of taxation, and another that ensures that women have equal
opportunities in the judiciary, where they have long been excluded.