Why can Egyptians challenge their government but Americans can’t?
By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | DECEMBER 10, 2012
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, today decided to cancel the controversial statement that shielded his powers against other government branches in his country as well as against justice. The new text says that if the new constitution is rejected in the referendum to be carried out on December 15, the president must choose a new Constituent Assembly in three months. The new constitutional declaration maintains the possibility of prosecuting those responsible for killings.
In a couple of weeks time, and after massive protests from a majority of Egyptians, Mohamed Morsi had to back down on his attempt to become the newest dictator, which he achieved by giving himself as much power as his predecessor had.
As announced in a press conference, the Islamist Mohamed Selim al Awa, who participated in a national dialogue meeting convened by Morsi, the president did not agree to postpone the referendum on the new constitution, so it will be held on 15 December as it was first set by Morsi himself.
The cancellation of the constitutional act was one of the demands of the opposition, along with the postponement of the plebiscite that finally was held as scheduled.
The commission, composed among others by al Awa and liberal politician Ayman Nur, drafted a new constitutional declaration that has been promulgated by Morsi that cancels the previous article imposed by Morsi back on November 21.
The constitutional change does not mention the controversial shield to Morsi’s powers that had been granted previously, or judicial immunity guaranteed to the Constituent Assembly and the Shura Council (upper house).
The new text says that if the new constitution is rejected in a referendum, the president must choose a new Constituent Assembly within three months of the vote, consisting of a hundred people and that must complete its work within a period not exceeding six months.
The new constitutional declaration maintains the ability to prosecute those responsible for the killings of protesters and civilians committed between January 25, 2011, when the so-called Arab Spring began against Hosni Mubarak, and June 30, 2012, when Morsi took office.
The change declares itself constitutional himself while doing the same for all decrees issued since the fall of Mubarak.
As for the referendum, the Egyptian vice president, Mahmoud Meki, said in the press conference that there will be enough judges to oversee the consultation, after some groups of the judiciary announced that they will not participate in the monitoring.
The national dialogue, in which these decisions were made to give a solution to the political crisis in the country, was boycotted by the non-Islamist opposition, which is part of the “National Salvation Front”.
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